Tuesday, 27 August 2013
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Author: Sara Farizan
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Released: July 1st 2013
Pages: 256 (eBook)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
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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 love me some books dealing with potentially difficult subjects. If You Could Be Mine strikes two of these - not only LGBT acceptance, but also what it feels like to be a girl living under the Iranian government. This book, whilst a good story, also gave me a huge insight into something that I otherwise would be pretty oblivious about.
Sahar has been in love with her best friend Nasrin for as long as she can remember. Naively, she feels like it will be like this forever - until reality comes crashing back down around her when Nasrin's parents announce that she will be getting married. Determined to find a way to be together, Sahar stumbles upon a wild idea; sex reassignment surgery, something that is not as frowned upon in Iran as homosexuality. In three months time, Nasrin will be married - can Sahar find a solution in time?
Immediately, you're swept into Sahar and Nasrin's relationship. Not only did I like the two individual characters, but the author made them work together with their chemistry bouncing off one another. Admittedly, Sahar did seem ridiculously naive for a seventeen-year-old who has lived in Iran her entire life. Spoilers for the rest of the paragraph, but the sex change idea was stupid from start to finish. Yes, it did make the point that she was so devoted to Nasrin and to their relationship, but it just went a bit too far for my liking.
As I have already made clear, I love the concept for this book. I've heard about the Iranian government and some of the laws they have set in Iran, but Farizan brought this truth to light. Not only did I read it for pleasure, but I felt like I learnt something new.
For a debut author, Farizan's writing was pretty good. It drew me into the story easily, and her world-building created Iran around me, as her descriptions brought it to life - not in a beautiful, exotic sense, but it felt very realistic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book - not only was it informative, but it was a fantastic story, and I did like the ending. It stayed true to the facts, whilst also giving us our happyish ending. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves LGBT fiction, or who like books dealing with difficult topics.