Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book 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 birhday. 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. Or so she thinks.

Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time. (From Goodreads)

I finished this book a week ago, and I'm finding it hard to write out how I felt about it. There were a few aspects I really enjoyed in the book. On the other hand, there was one major issue that kept me from enjoying the story more.

One thing that this story did well was depict loss within a family. Bronwen's father died when she was a child, and it's fairly obvious to the reader that this loss still haunts the family. This loss wasn't dealt with in a healthy way, and there was a lot of healing that still needed to be done by the characters. I actually thought that this made the story more interesting. It made me feel some compassion for that characters that I didn't like (Bronwen's mother/brother). I also really liked Bronwen's stepfather. His character was always there for Bronwen, even though she tried to push him away. He lightened up some scenes with a wink, or a comment, and it was obvious that he knew her better than she knew herself. The love story between Bronwen and Jared was another aspect of the story that I enjoyed. Bronwen and Jared are both in different places in their lives, and I loved how both characters had to acknowledge that.

I guess the major issue for me was that the ending felt lacking. I felt that the resolution of Bronwen's family issues should have just been...more. Family was one of the most important aspects in this book, in my opinion, and the issue seemed to be resolved too quickly. I think that this stems from Bronwen's mother, who was insufferable throughout the book. If I were her daughter, I'd have some deep-seated resentments that couldn't be solved without some therapy.

I really enjoyed the first part of the book, but the ending was a disappointment for me. Nevertheless, I'll check out more from McCahan, because this book showed a lot of potential.

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
By Erin McCahan
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
272 Pages
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Rating: C

Part of Around the World Tours


Tales of Whimsy said...

LOL Your last therapy line left me smiling.

Happy weekend.

Emma said...

Great review. This book looks really interesting.

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