Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.

When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birthday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. So why the sudden hesitation?

Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine two things – who she truly is and who she truly wants to be. And the answers are not what she thought they’d be. (Summary from author's website)

I have been wanting to read this book for a while now, ever since I read some good reviews about it on various blogs. Sometimes I'm a little wary after reading such reviews, as I'm worried the book might not stand up to my expectations...but this one? Blew them away! I loved it!

I think many of us can relate to the feeling that we don't necessarily fit in with our family. It is this idea that guides both the narrative and its main character, and it's done in a way that doesn't feel petty, but authentic, in all it's awkwardness and fun. Let's face it, Bronwen's family is certainly interesting and hilarious, truly dysfunctional...but maybe not quite one of a kind, which is a message I think McCahan relates in a fast-paced and heartwarming manner.

McCahan has created such a likeable character with Bronwen...she's smart, witty, and gave me quite a few giggles! But she's also vulnerable, and it doesn't take the reader long to realise that a lot of her humour covers significant pain. Bronwen is engaging throughout the narrative, to such an extent that I laughed when she laughed, cried when she cried, and even got angry when she did. Though I admit to wanting her to confront her parents a lot earlier than she actually did!!

I found Bronwen's romance with Jared endearing, and cheered for it from the start. As the little revelations of Bronwen's true feelings shone through, those which she too easily pushed away, my stomach literally tied itself in knots, worried as I was about what the outcome would be. I'm a romantic at heart, so I want the 'happily ever after', but I also have to believe in it - as did Bronwen. Her growth - and that of her relationships with her parents, brother and Jared - felt real and was great to experience.

What I truly enjoyed about I Now Pronounce You Someone Else is that it isn't a typical love story. It's first and foremost a story about being true to yourself - happy in who you are - before you can be happy in your relationships with others. It's both a story of love and acceptance, in its many forms, and I could not put it down.

Rating:

I also adore this cover, it's cute and pretty and fits the story perfectly.

2 comments:

  1. I LOVED this book too! Its one of the best romances I have read in a long time! Fantastic review!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much, Lori! I appreciate it! It really is one of the best romances recently! :-)

    ReplyDelete