Sunday, October 3, 2010
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, By Erin McCahan- Blog Tour Review
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else arrived on my door step Thursday afternoon (in the middle of making more jam) and so although it's not scary in the typical sense, it was a blog tour I had agreed to take part in some time ago and this would be why on day three of my Giving me the Creeps October I'm reviewing a story about an 17 year old girl who wants out of her family so badly she's willing to get married before university to get it (but has no zombies, vampires or monsters!).
Bronwen Oliver is 17 years old and positive she's been switched at birth. She's not blond, her teeth are too big, and she has nothing in common with either her Brother or Mother. Her father passed away when she was six and her step dad has some serious black marks against him. She would do anything to have a "real" family, so when she meets Jared (handsome blond university boy) and then his fabulous family, she immediately falls head over heels in love. Obviously when he proposes on her 18th birthday, she couldn't be happier. But as they fall into planning their August wedding, Bronwen starts to realize the university life she was looking forward to isn't going to be the same as she pictured now she'd be an "us" and not just herself, at the tender age of 18.
I come from a relatively small city, Saskatoon has an estimated population of 257,300 people. Now that's considerably bigger than Bronwen's home town of East Grand Rapids Michigan which is estimated at 10,764, but yet considerably smaller than Toronto's 2,503,281 (and that's just the city proper and not the burbs!). And I have to say, I noticed a huge difference from Saskatoon to Toronto about marriage.
In Saskatoon nearly all my friends were married by 24, several of them were either engaged or married between the last year of high school and the second year of university (so the ages of 17-20). The hubby and I broke down and made it official about a year and a half ago (I was 30) and we were one of the first few of our friends out here (in Toronto) to be married. Now we were in our early twenties when we met and started dating, but it's just crazy talk getting married in your twenties out here and I can't say I felt the slightest inclination to do so. But then again I used to have slight panic attacks at friends weddings (in my early twenties, no longer!) and wish I could turn around and break up with whomever my date was at the time and run out of the church screaming.
So maybe its just me.
Anywho, what I'm saying is, the smaller the city or town, the less unusual young marriages seem to be. I can't quite imagine what the reason for that is, but it does seem to be a fact. Making Bronwen's wedding controversial but not unheard of (so keep that in mind while reading).
I thought I Now Pronounce You Someone Else illustrated the whole subject well. Jared is the dream boy, thoughtful and loving and not at all what you expect when you're 17. His family is so lovable I would likely have fallen in love with them, and Bronwen's family is decidedly riddled with problems she's unwilling to deal with and not very affectionate.
Obviously most 17 year old girls would be swept off their feet as well.
What I enjoyed about the story is Erin McCahan has her character come to the slow realisation of what she's giving up and to also have enough fortitude to deal with it. Few 18 year old girls would weigh what they're giving up against marrying an awesome/cute/older guy who's dreamy and perfect, and find it wanting. But Bronwen does, and in such a gradual and simplified way I felt it illustrated the point so much more effectively than the "think what you're giving up" speech that comes from the adults in these circumstances (even though they boil down to the exact same things). I felt like it really showed the worth in being yourself and discovering your own path before inter-twining yours with someone else's.
And although it might sound like something teenage girls would obviously know in this modern, technological day and age, I think things like the great success of Twilight show us they might know it, but they love a good love story better. After all the only thing better than a great love story is living one yourself, right? So it's nice to see the sweeping love story, with the practical ending (we're not all going to go on to date unbelievably dedicated/never changing/ super romantic/ cute/ teenage vampires after all), and yay to Erin McCahan for putting it out there, but keeping it a fun read.
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, By Erin McCahan
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books, June 2010