If You Could Be Mine
Released: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Length: 257 pages
In this terrific debut novel, readers meet Sahar, a 17-year-old student who lives in Tehran. She is smart and ambitious, and she has a secret that could get her arrested or even killed; she is a lesbian and is in love with her best friend. When Nasrin’s parents arrange for her to marry a young male doctor, Sahar knows that she and Nasrin will no longer be able to be with each other. When desperate Sahar meets transsexual Parveen at a party given by her gay cousin, she thinks she sees a way to be with Nasrin. In Iran, it is not illegal to be transsexual, as it is to be gay or lesbian, and the state will even pay for sex reassignment surgery because it is seen as a necessary medical procedure. Sahar pursues sex reassignment, dreaming of marrying Nasrin even though she knows in her heart that she doesn’t really want to become a man. As Nasrin’s wedding approaches, Sahar realizes its inevitability and must decide what she is going to do. Farizan’s portrayal of Sahar and her predicament is sensitive and heartbreaking. Even less-sympathetic characters, such as Nasrin and her parents, are portrayed in a nuanced manner; in the culture Farizan depicts, the girls’ fears that their romantic relationship will become known are realistic and understandable.
I love this book and I highly recommend it. It chronicles the life of two teenage girls who are in love with each other. They were friends since they were little girls because their mothers were best friends. Sahar has to deal with seeing her best friend, Nasrin get married and knowing she isn’t able to be with her publicly due to the strict rules governing Iran. I do find it odd that Nasrin identifying herself as lesbian or not wasn’t clear. It is clear to the reader that Sahar is lesbian. Nasrin insists on separating herself from the homosexual and transexual community, while Sahar didn’t.
The author gives us a glimpse into their lives about things that are taboo to talk about in Middle Eastern countries. The book even explains what people have to go through who feel they are the wrong gender (transgendered). It’s amazing to read about how far someone would go for love, even in a stage of immaturity, then in the end realize that there is more to life than the one you love. There are other people who love you just as much. I am not a lesbian, but I can relate to Sahar in a lot of ways. This is a beautiful story about friendship, love, and loss.
If You Could Be Mine is available in the Amazon ebook store for $2.99 and in paperback or hardcover.