Thursday, August 15, 2013

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Release Date – August 20, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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?
Sahar and Nasrin are in love. Instead of holding hands, and going on dates they spend their time hiding. Just being together could have dangerous consequences for them. This story of freedom, love and asks if loosing yourself is worth the risk.

The writing in this is quite good. Sara Farizan made me care about the story regardless of how I felt with the characters. I wish she had gone a little deeper, explored things a little more as I believe it would have taken this from good to excellent.

While I felt like I got to know Sahar really well, and see Nasrin through her eyes, I didn't feel the same about Nasrin. I wanted her point of view. I understood exactly what about Nasrin captivated Sahar, but I want to see Sahar through Nasrin's eyes. We get a little bit of it from comments, or others people alluding to things. It would have helped the imbalance I felt was in the relationship. I don't know if I buy it was true love. I do think they cared deeply for each other, and that they had a lot of sexual attraction to each other, but often I felt anger too.

I felt like the relationship was strained a lot of the time. The fact that it's so secretive heightened everything. It made it feel more urgent, and yet added an insane amount of stress to the girls, especially Sahar. The fact that she was desperate enough to want to change herself, speaks volumes. It shows that reckless, headstrong, full tilt passion that is so common when you're a teenager.

At points it was unclear whether these girls actually liked each other. Like any relationship they could have spent some actual time being a couple and realize that they weren't suited to each other. That's sort of the point of the novel though. They don't have that option. They can't date and see 'what if'. It is this lack of freedom, the freedom to love whomever you want, that is most heartbreaking.

The fact Iran is progressive when it comes to being transgender. I had no clue that it was possible to have surgery and that the government would help pay for it. It contrasts Sahar and Nasrin's struggle, and I can see why it would have been used as a means of potentially being together, but it was obvious that neither girl identified themselves this way. The novel dares you to ask what you would do for love, and would you  sacrifice yourself to have it.

The author's decision to have Reza, the doctor who is to marry Nasrin, be a decent and nice guy was fantastic. They had their own story and his feelings for her felt genuine. He could have been some evil character used as yet another obstacle in a love story that already had enough stacked against it. Instead he was portrayed as someone kind, tender, and in love.

The ending feels logical, and like the only plausible outcome to this story. It's not wrapped in a neat bow. There is not happily going into the sunset. Instead there is a stark reality mixed with the realization that life is complicated. There is no easy solution to the situation. Love sometimes isn't enough to overcome everything, and that is the saddest truth that this novel demonstrates.

An important novel, that should generate a lot of discussion. It's both eye opening, and thought provoking. One that may have passed by my radar if not for being a blogger.

1 comment:

  1. Yours is the first review I've read for this book and it sounds fascinating. I haven't read any books like it and I think I'll have to check it out. I'm glad the author didn't go with a fluffy, unrealistic ending. Great review!

    Katie @ Katie’s Book Blog


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