If You Could Be Mine

I would have never read a book like If You Could Be Mine in a million years if it wasn’t for the book club I’m in. This book was March pick so I had to read it. Lesbian Teenage Romance Fiction is not typically my genre but I was willing to give it a try since it was small enough to be able to finish in couple days.

This book is set in present day Iran and more specifically in Tehran, the capital. It’s a fiction of course but I assume most of the details about their society is accurate, which is what interested me in reading this book more than the romance itself. It’s about two girls who from young age grew up close and were in love with each other and when they turn 18 they realize they can’t continue being together forever because of the laws of their ultra conservative society. The story was meh but I learned a lot of interesting things about the society which I assume must be at least partly true.

It appears from the book that there’s some french influence in Iranian culture. They drive Peugeot’s, wear manteaus and their entrance exams to University is called Concours. There is of course American influence as well but it’s mostly underground and illegal. All American films must go through Iranian Film Board where they get censored, digitally remastered to cover human bodies with black clothes (?) and dubbed in Persian. American music is bootlegged and dealt underground too.

Few other things I learned include that women always need to wear their head scarf when they are in public and cover their elbows and knees. When they ride a bus they need to be at the back of the bus and men in the front so they are separated. Women can’t walk out at night without having a parent or guardian. There’s no LGBT rights and LGBT people are stoned to death or hung in public for their gross actions. This punishment also applies for people who cheat on their spouses but I assume it mostly only applies to women. Since a woman’s face is the most exposed part, naturally all the girls try to do odd things to attract boys like shave their eyebrows off completely and have tattoos instead or to have nose jobs. Sex change operations is not frowned upon by the government in fact they even pay for it, it looks like. Men have the most rights and freedom. It’s a true hell to be a women in Iranian society and even worse for a lesbian one. And apparently it was different before 1979 when Iran was under the Kings rule. Women wore mini skirts and had lot more rights but after the fall of Shah in 1979 Iran was installed with a theocratic government.

As for the story itself it was not the greatest. There’s typical teenage angst, helplessness and irrational behavior. It’s a good book if you are clueless about Iranian society and want to get a little flavor of life in Iran specifically through a teenage girls eyes. This is also supposed to happen in the Capital which typically is more liberal so you can imagine how backward it would be as you move away from Tehran. I give this book 2 stars.