This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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People Magazine 's Top 10 Books of 2017
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"It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think." --Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

This is how a family keeps a secret...and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after...until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change...and then change the world.

This is Claude. He's five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They're just not sure they're ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes.

Laurie Frankel's This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it's about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don't get to keep them forever.

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250088550
Branch Call Number: FIC Frank
Characteristics: 327 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 10, 2018

I thought the author revealed one particular family with a transgender child amidst a vast array of other family issues surrounding this as well as the unique challenges for families in general. Knowing this is fiction I was able to embrace those issues that are relevant, timely, and of great importance in understanding a bit of what raising a transgender child is like. Frankel came across sharp, witty, and creative.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Apr 02, 2018

I had such high hopes for this book. There aren’t enough books about this topic, and that’s the only reason I’m giving it 2 stars instead of 1. Rosie and Penn are parents to a transgender child, who transitions from being Claude to Poppy as the book progresses. Rosie and Penn are insufferable people, and I felt bad for their five children who were stuck with these obnoxious parents. Rosie is the type of woman who gives her kids quirky, ridiculous names, but then judges a teacher named Becky for not going by Rebecca. The real problem is that there are some really offensive things in this book. Throughout the book Penn tells his kids a fairytale, with Princess Stephanie being a clear stand-in for Poppy. Penn reveals that Princess Stephanie’s big secret is that she’s a night fairy. How did neither the author nor editor realize that equating a kid being transgender with being a fairy was problematic? The book gets even more offensive as Rosie takes their youngest child to Thailand. There Rosie is the Western hero, gracing everyone with her presence. The Thai village is so grateful to have Americans around that they let a 10 year old American kid become a teacher for a class of 25 Thai kids. These parts of the book reek of racism, with a gross message that Thai people are helpless and Thai culture exists solely to make Americans find themselves. There was so much potential in this book, and it was just totally squandered.

Feb 26, 2018

Loved this book. Love the way the author writes. Story that taught me and made me think - sensitive, insightful and often funny.

Jan 24, 2018

Rosie and Penn are unmitigated child abusers. Claude is a boy, male. His parents were not wrong in properly identifying him as a boy at birth. By indulging him in his confusion and forcing his confusion and their adusive delusion on their older children they engage in child abuse. This story describes behavior that is not normal and the Seattle Public Library should allow alternative views to be heard to counter this attempt at the normalization of child abuse.

Nov 06, 2017

This book is a delight to read...I laughed a lot, cried some and found it provocative too. I've been telling EVERYONE to read this book. It's so well written on so many levels. Now I'm going back to read her earlier books.

jilllib Oct 10, 2017

A fictional account of gender dysphoria in a little boy/girl.

Jul 13, 2017

A timely story that takes us to the depths of feeling and social interactions of a young transgender child. Frankel draws on her experience to help us see into the world that we may otherwise only hear about. It fell short of 5 stars because the subject matter was handled superbly but lacked a cohesive background - all of a sudden Rosie and Poppy went to Singapore to have cultural input on transgender philosophy? I did like that I moved from Wisconsin to Seattle and I share some of what author said about the state's difference.
This is a great book for discussion groups!

Jun 18, 2017

Really enjoyed this realistic but humorous take on the difficult subject of raising a transgendered child in today's very difficult world.

Looking forward to checking out the authors other books!

Cynthia_N Mar 16, 2017

I want to know the rest of the story. Tell me about middle school, and high school, and college and beyond. Is she happy? Good read with some hard truths about the guess work of parenting.

Mar 14, 2017

This is an incredibly well written novel about a family's journey into unknown territory. The youngest son, who is very bright and confident, lets them know at a very young age that he is a "girl" and wants to wear his mother's nightgown (which was his costume in a play he had written and produced with his four brothers) to preschool!

And from this point onward the story relates how every member of the family tries to ascertain what is the best and most loving way to live with a transgender child/sibling.

The fears of the parents are especially poignant as they try to make decisions for Poppy as well as the entire family.

The author has a daughter who was born a son, but makes it clear in the afterward, that this is a novel and NOT her daughter's story because "only her daughter can tell that."

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