Thursday, August 15, 2013

Margaret N. Was Profoundly Moved By This Debut Novel

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 had before, 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?

Margaret N. says:
"Sahar is in love with her best friend Nasrin. But in Iran being lesbian,or gay, is a crime.  Nasrim's marriage is arranged by her parents,  Sahar needs a way to stop it and fast.  Through a friend of her cousin Ali, she learns that being a transsexual is legal - the government even helps with the medical expenses.  But unfortunately what at first seemed the solution to her problem isn't fast, and will Nasrim even want to be with her after the surgery?  Will her family still love her?

At its heart,
If You Could Be Mine asks the question how much of yourself you are willing to give up to be with the person you love.  I haven't captured the mood of the book - what it means to be a woman in Iran - the veils the fear etc.  The girl's are stopped by the police because one of their jacket sleeves were too short and show too much.  Imagine what would have happened to them if they had been caught kissing or even holding hands.  Their situation is almost unfathomable to an American audience,  so this book will open a lot of eyes to what is happening to lesbian women in Iran."

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