This review is also posted on my blog at Thoughts and Pens
This book has a very interesting premise and the first time I read its synopsis, I instantly knew that I have to have it. This book would be my first read about LGBT. And what’s even more interesting is that it was set in Iran where being LGBT is forbidden. What can this gal do but sign up for that!
I really have high hopes for If You Could Be Mine. But after reading it, I felt kind of empty and thought that something is lacking. As I’ve said the premise was excellent and I liked the glimpses of the Iranian culture especially when it comes to women and LGBT. I can pretty much understand as to why women are prohibited to even expose their elbows and that wasn’t new to me. Here in our country, I’ve seen Muslim women practically covered from head to toe with only their eyes being exposed. What really interested me is that being lesbian or gay in Iran is prohibited but the government is willing to pay for transsexual surgery.
Sahar, our hero/heroine, is very much inlove with her bestfriend—Nasrin—that she thought of undergoing the painful surgery so that she can marry her when the time comes. She believed that everything would be easy and she can successfully prevent Nasrin from being married off to someone other than her. But as Sahar tried to pursue her plan, she realized that things are more difficult than she thought them to be.
Sahar’s story is interspersed with heartaches and inhibitions. Amidst her desperation to claim Nasrin as hers, she was also struggling to keep her family from falling apart and striving hard to get herself into University. I almost sympathized with her plight if only things were given a lot more depth and intense moments. My first impression with this book was that it would contain heavy drama that would make me cry my heart out. But alas, it was sort of relaxing. The heart wrenching moments didn’t come. And there are times that I find myself doubting Sahar’s and Nasrin’s love for each other. It was somewhat one sided, me not seeing a lot of Nasrin’s side of the story. Throughout the whole thing, it had always been Sahar who was desperately trying come up with something to snatch Nasrin from the clutches of marriage.
I was more convinced about Sahar’s problem with her dad. In a way, that saddened me for a brief period of time. I was even surprised to find Ali’s (Sahar’s gay cousin) life worthier to read. It was risky and more real. And because these things were more captivating than the lesbian love story, I felt that the whole plot was distracted. Sahar and Nasrin’s tale became a little bit secondary. Add to that was the characterization of the leads didn’t help at all to make me root for their story. To put it simply, I didn’t feel that Sahar is undergoing through an ordeal.
As my reading progressed, the plot didn’t thicken and was very predictable. I was really looking forward to see a lot of action with powerful scenes happening throughout. I would have really wanted to see Sahar being arrested or maybe the two of them eloping and face difficult consequences eventually or anything at all to convince me that there’s something worth reflecting about the whole story. The problem was, this book was too afraid to take the plunge.
I was only glad that this was a short read and normally paced. Otherwise, I would have been transported to torture land. One other thing that I liked about this book was its realistic ending. If things were just done differently, I am sure that I would immensely enjoy this story…maybe even spend a whole roll of tissue as I cry my eyes out. The concept was excellent but sadly, it just didn’t deliver.
Would I recommend this book? Sure, if you enjoy cultural based stories with an LGBT twist.
*A free copy was provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*