By Erin McCahan
Available now from Scholastic
This review is part of a book tour. Be sure to visit the previous stop at Novel Novice and the next stop at The Heart of Dreams.
While I enjoyed I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE, Erin McCahan made two stylistic choices that sometimes hindered my experience. It is a framed story, beginning and ending two years in the future. It's a bit difficult at first since Bronwen Oliver immediately launches into part of her backstory. I had trouble separating future from present from past. The book quickly settles into the main action, which resolves that problem. Second, characters talk over each other for a realistic feel. Realism in dialogue is a bad idea. The juxtaposition of phrases wasn't particularly funny, so I found myself skimming the passages employing this technique.
I immediately connected with Bronwen, however, because she hates ketchup. (C'mon, I hate tomatoes so much that it's in the header of my book blog. I don't like ketchup either. Really, I'm just not a condiment person.) Bronwen's character flaw is obvious: in order to be polite, she won't speak up when she doesn't like something. I've done this myself, but it's still frustrating. I did take heart that she would learn to assert herself when she began the novel by kicking her old boyfriend to the curb by refusing to have sex with him.
Jared Sondervan, the Someone Else, enters the scene fairly quickly. It is a bit longer before he proposes than the title and blurb would have you believe. The theme of the novel is less readiness for marriage than it is created families. Who do we choose to consider family and why? How do you make it work? Jared and Bronwen's relationship often feels like the secondary one, merely there to comment on Bronwen's relationship with her stepfather.
Bronwen likes her stepfather. This isn't a fairytale. But she's well aware of the fact that he isn't her actual father and that they have different last names. It doesn't help that she connects with Whitt but not her mother. She doesn't have much of a connection with her older brother either. Combined with past events, Bronwen suspects Whitt doesn't see her as his daughter the way she sees him as her father.
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE was less funny than I expected, but still light-hearted. Bronwen had a good voice, especially when she chose to use it. If you enjoy family stories, you'll probably like this novel.