New York Times Bestseller
The Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
“Every once in a while, I read a book that opens my eyes in a way I never expected.” —Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine book pick)
People Magazine’s Top 10 Books of 2017
Amazon’s Best Books of 2017: Top 20
Amazon’s Best Literature and Fiction of 2017
Bustle’s 17 Books Every Woman Should Read From 2017
PopSugar’s Our Favorite Books of the Year (So Far)
Refinery29's Best Books of the Year So Far
BookBrowse’s The 20 Best Books of 2017
Pacific Northwest Book Awards Finalist
The Globe and Mail's Top 100 Books of 2017
Longlisted for 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award
“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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Laurie Frankel drew from her own experiences to write this novel about a family raising a transgender child. The intimacy of her writing makes us feel instantly protective of the Walsh-Adams clan, who lovingly navigate the realization that their son’s desire to wear dresses isn’t just a phase and negotiate the challenges of making friends who don’t yet know the family’s truth. Frankel is witty and tell-it-like-it-is—every parent will recognize the emotions in her story, especially the fierce protectiveness and the sense of feeling your way through the unknown. Not everyone knows a family with a transgender child, but after reading this, you’ll feel like you do.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is how it always is
This is a book that causes you to think about what it's like to be the parent, sibling, best friend and a transgender person. It takes you through early life and decisions parents make who love all of their children. Although I thought the end was a bit too optimistic, I enjoyed learning more about a family's journey answering tough questions in our society and other societies.
Interesting story badly told
My book club chose this so I had to finish it. This could have been an engaging story in the hands of a more careful writer.
This is how it always is
I read a lot and have never written a review. This book knocked me off my feet. It taught me so much, it offered me a fresh perspective, it was enlightening and totally relatable all at the same time. I loved the characters and I couldn’t put it down but I’m so very sorry it had to end. Could not recommend any more!