Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review: If You Could Be Mine

If You Could Be MineAuthor: Sara Farizan
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Alqonquin Young Readers

In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

“I want to marry you,” I say, and Nasrin looks at me with a sad expression that makes me feel helpless and pathetic.

She keeps thinking about the two boys who were hung two years ago in Mashhad. They were hung after being accused of raping a thirteen-year-old boy, but most people think the two were lovers who got caught.

I was just something to keep her busy until the Superman of suitors came forward.

This novel was so much more than I expected it to be. The story focused on what it was like to be a homosexual in a country like Iran, which has no toleration for the issue whatsoever. Nasrin and Sahar have been in love with each other since they were just six years old. Now emerging into adulthood, Marin’s parents have arranged a marriage for her that is to take place soon, and Nasrin has faced it and decided that there is nothing she can do about it at all. She proposes that she and Sahar go on as they have before, but this is not enough for Sahar. She wants to be with Nasrin openly and publicly. So much so that she is willing to have a sex change for that to be possible. Both of these girls are in for a world of pain and obstacles, but will their love for one another be enough for them to persevere in a country with little to no tolerance?

The only issue that I had with this book was that the emotions and stakes were high, but I never felt like I really knew either of the girls that well. I definitely felt like there was not enough Nasrin, after all she is one that is about to be married off. I did enjoy Farizan’s writing style because it was easy to follow and flowed extremely well, but I felt like she left out a lot of detail when it came to her two biggest characters. Most of the novel revolves around Sahar and her looming decision to have a sex change. I just couldn’t quite understand why the girls didn’t just leave the country in the first place – but that’s just me.

This book did make me cry, and that is always a plus. Like I said previously, the emotions were high and the action was always enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. I was very interested in the setting; I know that Iran is a very strict place for women, especially gay women, but I was so enthralled in the culture and absorbing all the information that I could about it. I really loved Farizan’s writing style. It is the type that can sail you right through the end of the book without you even realizing you are almost finished reading!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Alqonquin Young Readers in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping by!
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