ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published August 20, 2013. Algonquin. 247 pp.
Seventeen-year-old Sahar feels like her world is ending. At the age of 6, she told her maman she was going to marry Nasrin, her best friend. Nasrin is beautiful and rich, while Sahar’s father barely makes a living building furniture. It has been years since Sahar made her promise to her mother, but she and Nasrin have managed to keep their relationship a secret from everyone. That’s all about to change.
When Nasrin gets engaged, Sahar is desperate to break up the impending nuptials. She is sure if she became a man they could marry, as the Iranian government allows transsexual operations. All she’d have to do is tell a psychiatrist she was born in the wrong body and everything would be legal. If they tried to bring their relationship out into the open, their love would be considered a crime against Allah with beatings, arrest and death by hanging if they were caught. However, nothing is as easy as it appears to be.
Farizan’s descriptions of Sahar’s search for peace in the midst of uncertainty, and the intense love she shows for Nasrin are very realistic. In addition, her portrayal of Iran’s closeted gay society, along with the difficulties faced by women in Iran’s unequal society, are believable and eye opening.
Readers aged 14 and older will learn much from “If you could be mine.”