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This Is How It Always Is

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  20,038 Ratings  ·  3,008 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 bein
...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Flatiron Books (first published January 4th 2017)
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Liz I listened to this book on audio and maybe that's why sentences like this didn't bother me. They flow in a very poetic way out loud. If you're having…moreI listened to this book on audio and maybe that's why sentences like this didn't bother me. They flow in a very poetic way out loud. If you're having a hard time, I recommend the audio.(less)
Paul Mariz I think it doesn't quite fit the definition. Frankel is the mother of a transgender child, and has written a fictional story about being the parent of…moreI think it doesn't quite fit the definition. Frankel is the mother of a transgender child, and has written a fictional story about being the parent of a transgender child, but she isn't herself transgender.(less)

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Emily May
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Well. Usually boys don’t wear dresses to preschool,” Rosie admitted carefully. “Or tights.”
“I’m not usually,” said Claude. This, Rosie reflected, even at the time, was true.

I've been going back and forth on whether I wanted to read this for a while. On the one hand, the premise interested me, the critics' reviews have been gushing, and the average GR rating is impressive. On the other hand, the few negative reviews have been calling it words like "sentimental", and even Kirkus begrudgingly ad
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Larry H
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about 4.5, maybe 4.75 stars.

Penn and Rosie fell in love almost instantaneously. Penn was a writer forever working on his "damned novel," while Rosie worked as an emergency room doctor forever on the night shift. When they decided to have children, especially as their family grew to four boys, they adopted a tandem approach to parenting—"It was just that there was way more to do than two could manage, but by their both filling every spare moment, some of what needed to got done."

One final try
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Dear Book:



Also, be forewarned I highlighted pretty much the entire thing.

I usually am a person who opts not to read a synopsis before starting a book (as was the case here) and encourages others to do the same. However, since we are living in a world where Nazis . . . . oh excuse me . . . . “Alt Righters” feel free to spew hate wherever they see fit and although I know I have none of those people on my friend list I’m not naïve enough
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Brooke
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fiction, lgbtq, dl
I'm really conflicted on the rating for THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS because on the one hand it's great that this book has so many positives & doesn't end on a pessimistic tone; we need LGBTQIAP+ stories that don't end in tragedy. (We need more of these books in general.) On the other hand, at times, there were such unrealistic situations taking place that I was wondering if the author was living in fantasyland- you'd have to suspend disbelief to enjoy it. It's clear that this is a personal stor ...more
Elyse
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happy New Year!

A gorgeous eye catching book cover....
A story with a lot of heart...
Kept me reading into the New Year early morning hours. I enjoyed this novel very much - but it’s not without flaws.

The ‘very-VERY’ beginning ....”Once Upon a Time Claude Was Born”, I felt the writing was ‘too busy’- ‘too wordy’...
But then....
It got FUNNY...really hysterical: We get a glimpse of Rosie and Penn’s dating life,(inspiring dating life...I was impressed), sex life, work schedules, - marriage - and how
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Margitte
From the blurb:
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 Cl
...more
Suzanne Leopold
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rosie and Penn are parents of five boys in Madison, Wisconsin. From a young age it was clear that their youngest son Claude was different from the other boys in the family. At three years old, when asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, he replied “a girl”. During the next few years his family observes him wearing dresses and barrettes in his hair.

Acting in the best interests of their child, Rosie and Penn are supportive of Claude’s feelings. He begins to transform into a girl named Poppy.
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Sue Dix
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't want to give any hints as to what this book is about. Don't read about it first, don't read the blurb on the dust jacket. Don't read a recap. Just read it, as I was told to do. You won't regret it.
lucky little cat
Speaking as the mom of a mildly autistic child, I'm recommending this book as a valuable emotional resource for any parent of a child with differences from the norm. (Whatever the heck "norm" is.)

I am not a perfect parent. I yell, I swear, and worst of all, I have to blink and think twice before defending my child from random blatant unfairnesses the world visits upon her. I hate that I hesitate.

For example, when a teacher assigned my daughter Tater a failing grade for not eating in class as a
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Heather
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
The only reason I finished this is because I think the topic of discussion is important and I wanted to give it my attention.

This book is a character study, and not just of Claude/Poppy, but the entire family. I made no real connections with any of them individually, but did feel the love amongst them as a whole. Character studies are just not my thing. I don't enjoy it. I don't want to study fictional characters this closely.

The writing style was horrid and I hated it.
There was so much unnec
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Ali (Readaholic ∞)
“I wish for my child, for all our children, a world where they can be who they are and become their most loved, blessed, appreciated selves.”

This is How It Always Is is an okay book that enlightens some of the struggles a transgender person, and their loved ones, most likely will face. It doesn’t only show the head on transphobia, but also how bad it can backfire when you’re only trying to help, when you think you’re doing the right thing for your child.

The beginning was great, but further int
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Sandra
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I thought it was going to be preachy and would try too hard to sway the reader to form an opinion. It didn't. Frankel simply told a beautiful story about what the power of secret/lie does to the fabric of a family. Well done!
Dan Radovich
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Did this novel change my mind? No. Did it sway me at all to consider changing my mind? No. That being said, Frankel has written a helluva good book. The Walsh-Adams family is filled with males; Father Penn and sons Roosevelt, Ben, Rigel and Orion (twins) and Claude. Mother Rosie is the lone female; until one day Claude decides he wants to grow up to be a girl - and wants to be named Poppy. On the first day of Kindergarten, due to a dead goldfish mishap, Claude/Poppy cannot attend wearing the per ...more
sue

I must say that the complex message in the blurb is what first attracted my curiosity I had heard or seen nothing about the hype of this book until recently which is good for me, I could walk in open minded and away from distractions from the hype.

The first half of the book was a struggle for me. There is a huge amount of narration and not much dialogue although at times even the dialogue was hard for me to follow at times to.

I got it though. I got the gist of it all.

This is a good modern times
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Barbara
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!! I found this novel amazing: amazing domestic fiction, amazing literature, amazing subject matter. I urge all readers who read to learn of the human condition; who read to consider ideas; who read to change your perspective on the world; who read for the love of reading to read this novel.

It’s a story of a family with five boys, and these boys are hilarious and rambunctious. The mother is an Emergency Physician and the father is an unpublished novelist and stay-at-home Dad. Both parents ha
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Eilonwy
Rosie and Penn Walsh-Adams are living a fairy tale, raising four boys in a farmhouse just outside Madison, Wisconsin. Rosie makes a good living as an ER doctor, and Penn is a house-parent while he works on his “damned novel,” known as the DN. Then they decide to have a fifth child. Claude appears to be another boy -- but he isn’t like any little boy his parents, or anyone else around them, expected.
Because nothing and no one has prepared Rosie and Penn for a son who wants to wear dresses and sw
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Karen
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe just a little too preachy, and a little too neat. I suspect that: a vast majority of transgender children do not have such understanding and accommodating parents and siblings, most families with transgender children can not afford to move a few states away to a neighborhood of their choice in the hopes of escaping discrimination, and it is not nearly as simple for even a young child to "pass" as a different gender in a new school system for several years without being discovered (as this ...more
Louise Wilson
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rosie & Penn have 5 sons. Then one day, the youngest son, Claude, announces he should have been born a girl, and wants to be known as Poppy.

The story is so current just now. We are hearing more and more of children who have been born the wrong gender. The author deals with the subject with a mixture of humour and honesty, but it's tactful at the same time. It covers transgender by expressing people's beliefs in such a young age. A beautifully written, honest look into transgender life.

I woul
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Mary Ruthless
I enjoyed this book but definitely had some issues with the narrative.

This novel is about a family. Not just any family though, but the absolutely fairy-tale perfect family. Penn and Rosie meet in college and it's basically love at first sight. Even before first sight because they both had weird feelings before their first date. *heavy eye roll*

Penn is studying to be a writer and Rosie is studying to become a doctor. Her schedule keeps her from really being able to date so she breaks things of
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Alaina Meserole
This is How It Always Is was a pretty good book. It was a lot more insightful to read than I thought it would be because it dealt with the struggles that a transgender goes through. However, it's not one person dealing with this struggle, no it's friends, families, and loved ones. This book provided the good and the bad and the ugly of it all. Not everything goes has planned because sometimes decisions can bite you in the ass.

I absolutely loved the beginning of this book. It just grabbed my atte
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Michelle
3.5 stars
This is How It Always Is was well on its way to being a 5 star read for me. I LOVED parts 1 and 2. But after that, the book kind of fell off the rails for me. Part 3 just didn't seem to mesh well with the rest of the book. Part of why I liked the first parts of the book so much were the interactions between all the siblings and their parents. When those were absent for Part 3, it just felt like it was missing something.

I also felt like it all just wrapped up too tidy in the end, which i
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debra
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I listened to the audio version and the NARRATOR WAS WONDERFUL, she became the embodiment of this totally splendiferous novel. Laurie Frankel really can write marvelously funny stuff as well as she writes about serious issues.

Kelly(and the Book Boar) loved This Is How It Always Is in the same way that I did. She wanted to "marry it", and "sleep with it under her pillow", and "highlighted pretty much the entire thing." I agree with all of it, and also wanted to hug it until it
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Ali Edwards
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I feel a whole lot of love for this story. For the characters, for the message of acceptance and inclusion, for the nuances of the middle-path. Highly recommended.
Nigel
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
In brief. The idea and the principle behind this book - bringing up a child of uncertain gender - is excellent. Sadly the - for me - overly descritive writing made it hard for me to feel engaged. No more than 3 star

This is the story of Rosie, a doctor, and Penn, a writer. They have four boys and, wanting a girl, they have a fifth, Claude. From a very early age Claude is inclined towards not identifying as male. This is the story of the journey of Claude's parents and siblings dealing with Claude
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Bookworm
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This Is How It Always Is was a thought-provoking, warm and touching book. At times it was quirky and made me laugh. It was not just about gender dysphoria but about unconditional love for one's children.

The story focuses on Poppy née Claude's gender transformation as a young child and the impact this has on her family, self-identity and those around her. The author successfully crafts a narrative of what it's like to be a parent whose only wish is to protect their child out of love and caring a
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Martie Nees Record
I was told this needs a SPOILER ALERT

First off, please excuse this review that was written in a New York minute. I’m off to Paris tomorrow and swamped with things to do. Okay, the message in the blurb was what attracted me to this novel. The story was about a brave and loving family that usually was in a hectic state from the responsibilities of raising five sons. Besides all the challenges that come with a large family, they were also struggling with the difficulties of bringing up a transgende
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Elaine
I won a copy of This Is How It Always Is from a Goodreads Giveaway.

One of my goals for 2017 is to write a review for every book I read on Goodreads so I can keep track of all the good books (always far and few in between) and the bad ones (always more than I can keep track of) and remember why (XYZ sucked) and why (ABC did not). Not surprisingly, I generally remember why XYZ was so bad and ABCs are rare, not truffle rare but not easy to find, like an alligator in the sewer.

Right now, my track re
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Cody | codysbookshelf
Gender dysphoria. It's a controversial topic that makes some people uncomfortable; Laurie Frankel tackles it head-on in This Is How It Always Is, a relatively short novel (it clocks in at about 320 pages) about a young boy, Claude, who feels he is a girl and desires to live the life of one. The story largely focuses on the family structure: Claude is the youngest of five kids — all boys — and was borne to two progressive, understanding parents. But all the liberalism and understanding in the wor ...more
Jackie Rogers
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved, loved,loved this book. Is about a family of five boys of which one is a girl. Is a transgender book. This is a book of fiction written by an author with a transgender child. Do I understand this concept more than before reading? NO! But I walked in the shoes of this child and her parents and siblings. Is a story of wonder delight, misunderstanding, and hate. We as Gods kids are called to love, accept, and forgive. Is all we are calleed to and yet we set ourselves up as judge and jury of ...more
Mary  Carrasco
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Is How It Always Is, is the story about Claude, the fifth boy born to Rosie and Penn, who wants nothing but to be a girl. This is also about being the parents of a transgender child and the hardships and triumphs that they experience along the way. We love our children no matter what. The bottom line is that, as parents, we only wish for our children's happiness. While Rosie and Penn accept Claude, now Poppy, they find that the world around them doesn't always offer up unconditional love an ...more
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Laurie Frankel is the author of three novels, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS, GOODBYE FOR NOW, and THE ATLAS OF LOVE. She lives with her family on a very steep hill in Seattle, but she's an east coaster at heart. She is also a baseball fan, a soup maker, a theater lover, a yoga practicer, a comma expert, and a huge reader. Welcome!!
More about Laurie Frankel
“You can’t tell people what to be, I’m afraid,” said Rosie. “You can only love and support who they already are.” 19 likes
“This is how it always is. You have to make these huge decision on behalf of your kid, this tiny human whose fate and future is entirely in your hands. Who trusts you to know what's good and right and then to be able to make that happen. You never have enough information. You don't get to see the future. And if you screw up - if with your incomplete contradictory information you make the wrong call - nothing less than your child's entire future and happiness is at stake. It's impossible. It's heartbreaking. It's maddening. But there's no alternative."

"Sure there is," she said.

"What?"

"Birth control.”
14 likes
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