Laurie Frankel's terrific exploration of parenting, gender issues, unconditional love, and family is one hell of a read. When three-year-old Claude asks to wear a dress and refers to being a girl when he grows up, parents Rosie and Penn realize they are in a situation for which they are woefully unprepared. Doing everything they possibly can to support their child, Rosie and Penn help Claude transition into Poppy. She's thrilled to be Poppy and blossoms into a happy, joyful child. Yet there are problems; there are secrets; there are ominous situations.
Frankel writes a story so beautiful and so heartbreaking, it's painful to read, but also gorgeous. Exploring themes of self-identity, self-loathing, and self-esteem in the transgender community, along with family, home, belonging, the agony of choosing the unknown, the flight from danger, and the slipping out of secrets, Frankel weaves a layered, complex, and rich story. An amazing accomplishment, This Is How It Always Is will be required reading for 2017. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
“It’s early days, but this big-hearted novel about a family with a transgender child is in the lead for the most sensitively and sincerely told story of 2017…Frankel’s portrayal of even the most openhearted parents’ doubts and fears around a child’s gender identity elevates this novel.” People (Book of the Week)
"Well-plotted, well-researched, and unflaggingly interesting...As thought-provoking a domestic novel as we have seen this year." Kirkus (starred review)
"It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think." Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies
"Frankel's third novel is about the large rambunctious Walsh Adams family. While Penn writes his "DN" (damn novel) and spins fractured fairy tales from the family's ramshackle farmhouse in Madison, Wis., Rosie works as an emergency physician. Four sons have made the happily married couple exhausted and wanting a daughter; alas, their fifth is another boy. Extraordinarily verbal little Claude is quirky and clever, traits that run in the family, and at age three says "I want to be a girl." Claude is the focus, but Frankel captures the older brothers' boyish grossness. She also fleshes out his two eldest brothers who worry about Claude's safety when Rosie and Penn agree that Claude can be Poppy at school. But coming out further isolates this unique child. Encouragement from a therapist and an accepting grandma can go just so far; Poppy only blossoms after the Walsh Adamses move to progressive Seattle and keep her trans status private, although what is good for Poppy is increasingly difficult on her brothers. The story takes a darker turn when she is outed; Rosie and her youngest must find their footing while Penn stays at home with the other kids. Frankel's (The Atlas of Love) slightly askew voice, exemplified by Rosie and Penn's nontraditional gender roles, keeps the narrative sharp and surprising. This is a wonderfully contradictory story—heartwarming and generous, yet written with a wry sensibility. Agent: Molly Friedrich Friedrich Literary Agency. (Jan.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Laurie Frankel on PowellsBooks.Blog
My first real job was at a chain bookstore in the suburban mall five miles from where I grew up. On the one hand, it was a cramped, overlit little box shoehorned between a McDonald’s and a card shop with few titles beyond the bestseller lists, lots of activity books I didn’t feel should count, and no one who could recommend the perfect book...