Summary: Living in Iran in 1988, Farrin attends a girl’s school working to become educated to help lead a future Iran. An outsider with no friends, Farrin’s life takes a turn for the better when Sadira, a new student at school, befriends her. Their friendship improves their grades as they study together, and new feelings are stirred within both of them as they continue to share in each other’s lives. But Iran is not a country that accepts homosexuality, and before long Farrin and Sadira are labelled deviants and advised to change their behaviour. Convinced there is nothing to be ashamed of in their love for each other, Farrin and Sadira plan a secret meeting and an escape from both of their families. Their hopes for the future come crashing down when they are arrested, and Farrin can only hope that her wealthy family will rescue her and Sadira from execution.
Number of Pages: 218
Age Range: 14-16
Review: Above everything else Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis has to offer, it is first and foremost a love story. Though I would have wished for a less tragic ending, Ellis’ historical fiction setting and the fact that her book is based on a true story means the ending was predestined.
Moon at Nine is quite frankly one of the most powerful love stories I have ever read, as Ellis shows her reader love is love, no matter what the sexual preference of those involved. My favourite memorable quote is the last one, because Sadira’s words capture the true nature of love, making a choice to care about someone no matter what others think. I could almost imagine her saying those words as vows in the wedding she and Farrin never got to have.
With a backdrop of an almost post-war Iran, Farrin and Sadira are vibrant and inspiring characters consciously deciding to live in the moment by clinging to each other in the face of great opposition. Ellis’ writing is passionate and informative, creating a realistic and frightening picture of Iran’s reaction to homosexuality.
I could say more, but I would prefer to let Ellis’ story speak for itself. Moon at Nine is certainly worth putting on your to-read list.
“To those who have loved and have perished for it, and to those who love still, dancing and rejoicing in the face oppression.” – Dedication from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis
“‘The end of the war does not mean the Iranian revolution is without enemies. We know that there are forces inside our country that collided with Saddam Hussein, that collude still with the Americans. They are betrayers of the revolution and all that Iran stands for. I would like now to speak directly to those enemies. If you thought you were safe because we were busy fighting for our lives against the imperialist lackeys who would bring crashing down everything we have built, know this – the revolution is stronger now, Iran is stronger now, and the Iranian people are stronger now than ever before. We will hunt down these enemies of the state, and we will deal with them in a way that will leave no doubt in the minds of everyone who is in control of Iran.'” – Ayatollah Khomeini from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, pages 88-89
“‘If we hadn’t fought back, Saddam would have taken over Iran,’ Sadira said. ‘We had to fight.’
‘I guess so,’ Farrin said. ‘We didn’t gain anything, though.’
‘My father says that if anything is gained by war, it should be given back, because something gained through violence is a form of theft.'” – Conversation between Sadira and Farrin from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, page 92
“‘The world is run by demons,’ Sadira said.
‘We can’t waste time,’ said Farrin. ‘My mother and her friends – they put off living until an event that may never happen. I can’t do that. I can’t put off my life.’
Sadira agreed. ‘We can’t postpone living. We never know when we are going to die. There could be another war at any time. We have to just live while we can. For me, that means doing everything the best I can – cooking the best meals for my father, doing my best on all the exams, having the most possible fun I can have with you, my best friend.’
‘So, we will live, then,’ said Farrin. ‘We will live and work as though we could die tomorrow. And then we will have no regrets.'” – Conversation between Sadira and Farrin from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, page 96
“‘No death invades a heart that comes alive in love: Our immortality is etched in the book of life.'” – Hafez from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, page 118
“All I have now is my book about demon hunting and my memories of you. If that is all I ever have in my life, it is enough. But I am not yet ready to bow down to the demons that run the world!
Know, my love, that I am always looking out for you. We will find a way…” – Letter written by Farrin to Sadira from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, page 144
“But first and most important, we are human beings with a right to choose for ourselves how we want to live. All we have is our lives. Each person gets just one. We owe our parents and the revolution our respect, but we don’t owe them everything. And everything is what they want.
I choose you, not just because you are wonderful and not just because you love me.
I choose you because the act of choosing you belongs to me. It is mine, my choice, my free will.
I choose you over my father. I choose you over my country.
And even if you decide you don’t want me, I still choose you.
Because in choosing you, I am choosing myself.” – Letter written by Sadira to Farrin from Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, page 151