I had one main problem with this book: Sahar, the protagonist, seemed to be mocking transsexuality. The problem arises when Nasrin, Sahar’s best friend, gets engaged and Sahar and Nasrin are forced to face reality and end their secret relationship. The situation becomes complicated because homosexuality is seen as illegal and distasteful in Tehran, but transsexuality is only seen as distasteful so Sahar decides she’ll become a man so she can stop Nasrin’s wedding and ride off into the sunset with her. In a movie, this may come across as romantic albeit overly idealistic, but in the book, it comes across as insensitive. People shouldn’t change their sex for such a trivial matter like the “love of their life.” If a person truly loved another, that person would either accept the second as he/she is, run away with the person, or let the person go and see him/her as a love lost. Furthermore, going from one sex to another isn’t a procedure that Sahar would’ve been able to do before Nasrin’s wedding so she should’ve rejected the idea quickly. The way Sahar went on and on about changing her sex for the wrong reasons and not accepting her homosexual status is the main reason I disliked this story.
Additionally, I couldn’t tell if all the stress Sahar was going through was worth it because, from her perspective, I couldn’t tell if Nasrin actually loved her. A number of other characters commented on how it was obvious Nasrin loved Sahar, but for the most part it seemed like Nasrin was with Sahar for the attention, which I also didn’t like.
For the most part, I think the story was trying to show a girl in an oppressive society coming to terms with her sexuality, but the way it attempted to express this message seemed offensive. Sahar could’ve figured out her sexuality without portraying transexuals so negatively.