This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

an incredibly engrossing read that touched my heart in so many ways. ~Sheila

Penn and Rosie have a houseful of boys. Four to be exact. When Rosie becomes pregnant for the 5th time, both Penn and she feel this time it will be a girl; but alas they find they have another perfectly wonderful boy.

Claude is a complete joy and the perfect addition to the happy family. When Claude chose to play dress-up over trucks, Penn and Rose were happy to oblige. When Clause wished for his hair to grow long, they let his hair grow. When Claude wanted to wear a party dress for his first day of school and carry a purse as a lunch box; while his parents hesitated, ultimately they want their child to be happy and comfortable in his choices, so a party dress it was.

And here is where it begins.

While Penn and Rosie could keep their child perfectly happy when he was in their home, the outside world was not so open.

When the school called to say the way Claude was dressing was a distraction to the other students.

When people whispered when the family went on outings.

When the kids begin to tease…

“For my child, for all our children, I want more options, more paths through the woods, wider ranges of normal, and unconditional love.”
― Laurie Frankel, This Is How It Always Is

This is a book you must experience.

Admittedly, this took me a while to write this review. I wrote… I deleted… I wrote again. I wanted to get it right. There is so much that is so good in this book.

Is it perfect? No. And it shouldn’t be. Rosie and Penn are amazing parents. Weaved within the pages, Penn, a stay-at-home novelist, tells a wonderful story to the children centered around a non-descriptive character called Grumwald. Rosie, a Doctor, balances a career and her family. As Claude encounters new obstacles, the parents make decisions that they hope will be for the better of all; upending their lives in ways that can and will spin out of control.

I really enjoyed reading this book and found it to be different than anything I have read before. It made me think. My only small complaint is the end wraps up a little too quickly and neatly – but again, that could be my perception and perhaps I am just bitter that it had to end at all.

A timely read. This would be a wonderful discussion book as there are so many things to discuss. I can’t wait for others to read this book because I really do want to talk about it.

*Author Laurie Frankel writes this as a fictional book, that also touches a little on her own experience of raising a transgender child. Be sure to check out her website (I recently downloaded another of her titles: One, Two, Three. )

10 thoughts on “This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

  1. I thought this book was wonderfully done and friends of mine who are raising transgender children said it really hit the mark. I’m glad you liked it so much, too.

  2. One of the best books our book club has read and truly generated marvelous conversations. Great choice once again Sheila!


  3. I read this a few years ago and thought it was wonderful. It made the topic very real and understandable to me. I have recommended it to friends many times although I’m not sure how many have gone on to read it. Their loss!

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