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. 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.
This book was refreshing to me because it felt real. I grew up with several girl friends who married older guys after graduating from High School and could relate to much of what Bronwen was feeling. Her voice rang true to me as I think it will to many young women. She’s also quirky as a teen can be, so you’ll laugh and you’ll cry while reading.
What I liked: Bronwen wanted to wait until she gets married to be intimate. And she breaks up with her first boyfriend when he pressures her after prom. She has guts and courage. She has a back bone to find out who she is before making her biggest decisions.
What I loved: Jared! He is the perfect all-American boy and his family is amazing. I can see how easy it would be to want to be a part of all that they are. He is amazing, old-fashioned and polite.
What I felt: A wide range of emotions and even a bit sad. Thank you to Erin McCahan for keeping the plot genuine and believable. I would read I Now Pronounce You Someone Else again.
What I Wish: I wish the first scene was written differently. To me, it felt attention grabbing in a negative way, it felt out of place with the remainder of the novel. I wish that we heard more of Jared’s voice.
What I did not like: The way Bronwen describes her brother. It was distracting to me to hear the name of the Lord taken in vain.
The main themes: healing after the loss of a parent, adoption, self-worth and courage to be who you are.
“I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but moved to Columbus, Ohio, when I was nearly five. That’s when my mother remarried – four years after my father was killed in Vietnam – and my new step-dad, a six-foot-seven-inch, southern gentleman and surgeon, had just joined a practice here.
I worked a couple summers in his office during college, and let me tell you how much fun that was. He was a colon-rectal surgeon. On my fourth day on the job, I had such a fit of nervous laughter on the phone – having to use the word enema three times in a scripted response to new patients – that I got booted from the receptionist’s desk to the insurance office where I just typed forms for weeks on end.
Enema. Who can say enema without giggling?!
What else? I transferred undergrad so many times I lost count, but spent my best collegiate years at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and Capital University here in Columbus, where I still live. I graduated from Cap with a degree in something. Professional Writing, I think it was called. And I ended up with a religion minor because of one completely fascinating professor. I just kept taking his classes. He literally was one of those bearded, old-Volvo-driving, hang-out-for-hours-with-students kind of profs who really did change lives.
He changed mine.
I ended up going to seminary because of him, mostly studied Hebrew and Greek and loved it, but never felt terribly rooted there — or anywhere until I met this great guy named Tim — so I left and wrote freelance articles for a while. Somehow, accidentally, actually, I ended up as a youth minister. Mostly, I didn’t have the heart to say no to the minister when she offered me the job on a Thursday, saying, “I need someone who can start Sunday.” Only after I accepted did she tell me I was in charge of 12- to 18-year-olds.
Turns out I loved it. Did that for ten years, all the while writing in semi-secret, and like most writers I know, my path to publication was long, crooked and filled with the standard miseries of rejection and discouragement. But it’s all part of the process, one thing leading to another if you don’t quit – and I didn’t – and I found an agent, who sold my manuscript, and here I am an author, something I knew I wanted to be as far back as third grade.
Oh, and that great guy named Tim? I married him. He’s one of the reasons I never quit writing, telling me once to “write until you run out of pens.” I believe I was sitting on the kitchen floor crying at the time, holding my latest rejection letter and muttering something about just getting a job at J. Crew. (It would be nice to have the discount.) His enduring support and belief in my ability everlastingly overwhelm me. That’s why all my books will always be For Timothy.” –Taken from her site http://www.erinmccahan.com/