I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahn
Source: Surprise ARC from Scholastic
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
I recall dying to read this when I first read the synopsis; it sounded like something right up my alley! Now less than a month since I have finished the book I have a hard time recalling just what I read. I can recall everything from the summary, but the in-betweens are a blur. I can recall that the beginning of the tale and the ending of the tale are very similar which made me smile because it reminded me a story-telling technique my 8th grade English teacher loved to read/use. Ah wait, now everything’s coming back, but first the synopsis from Goodreads (it’s very in-depth):
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.
Jared and Browen relationship was at a pace that I was uncomfortable reading; just too fast, too impulsive, too young for me to fully swoon over. There were bouts of swooning of course and the creditable factor is there as well with the relationships starting a much younger age nowadays. Jared and Browen’s relationship is sweet, tender, and humorous that left me a little dizzy, but again, no full on swoon.
Falling back into the young and impulsive actions Browen is indeed very young to begin considering marriage. Yet the novel seems to focus more on identity. Browen’s identity is beyond the realm of fantasy and is the case of a dead father and a family that just never seemed to talk about it or anything at all. Browen’s now the only brunette amidst a crowd of blonds in her family that just screams how different she is. So what does she do? She dyes her hair blonde. By doing this she seems to shroud herself from what she wants and follows what everyone else wants—fitting into the “status-quo” of her mother, her peers, and ultimately a “world” she believes herself to live in. The novel follows the growth period of Browen—self-identity being the main issue—and beginning of recommunicating.
Just to finalize this review I would like to mention I disliked the brother and the mother, but found them and the rest of the characters differentiable. And as much as I would like to know what they were thinking, it’ll be slightly impossible because of the first person point of view narrative—limited of course. Though the mother’s nonchalant manner still irks me even after understanding this.