This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

Book - 2017
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WPL_Erin Mar 04, 2021

Such a stunning story about the love of a family and accepting people as they are!

Feb 27, 2021

This book is pure magic on paper. Absolutely stunning, I have no words.

Jan 20, 2021

Trans gendering a child. Tells how the family handled the situation. A really good read. Sensitive.

Nov 20, 2020

This was a great book! Claude reminds me of one of my very best friends in kindergarten. Claude like his dress and my friend wore a rapunzel dress on come as your favorite character day. A truly beautiful story!

Oct 30, 2020

Ok read. I felt like for the topic of the book, it could have been a little more exciting. I didn't care for the author's overall voice throughout the book...I felt like she was trying to hard to be witty, funny and it didn't come naturally.

JCLCatherineG Aug 26, 2020

This was a wonderful story about transgender, family, and society! If you have the ability to listen to it, I highly recommend it. The narrator is excellent.

Aug 23, 2020

A book that should be read and in a more perfect world understood by all. Don't we all need to be a bit middle at some times.

Apr 25, 2020

I didn't want this book to a fairy tale, a real life fairy tale it was ssoooooooo good. I need a sequel although we all know sequels are never ever as good as the original....

Mar 24, 2020

Book Club

Jan 25, 2020

As someone who has friends who are trans-gendered, it was nice to read something that reflected their reality. However, at times it felt a little too didactic - like when the parents discuss options for the future. I'm sure it reflects the reality of family with trans members, but it felt a bit like it was trying to educate the public. That said, it was generally a good read and a good story.

Dec 28, 2019

Loved this book

Dec 07, 2019

Amazing. Fantastic. The love is palpable in this thrumming, electrifying read. I'm beyond words. I don't often love books as much as I love this one, but when I do... READ THIS BOOK, okay? The romance of Rosie and Penn, the sibling love and sibling care between all the kids, all of it hums with love. You can tell that the author truly loves and cares about her characters, and that is something to behold. The deft, wise, twists of the plot, and the solemn yet playful narrative voice throughout is wonderful. I'm almost tempted to compare this author to J.K. Rowling, because the excellent plotline and rich, deep, voice, require just as much finesse.
I laughed, I cried, and I smiled throughout.

Sep 29, 2019

secrets, fairy tales and Buddha are all elements in learning to approach life from the middle way
a loving, chaotic family of 7 learn how hard it is to hide the truth and why looking at the truth doesn't have to lead to disaster

Jul 12, 2019

I wasn't sure what this book was about when I picked it up, but it was fantastic. I loved the story and the characters and I highly recommend it.

May 28, 2019

May WPL Book Club Selection - I loved the way part 1 was written, the way Penn and the children sat together every night for story time, but was on the fence about the move....then the secrets...(I know a family with secrets.....)...the language in Thailand was frustrating to read, but I understand why mom and her child went there....a controversial subject for sure. Not sure what I would do if this was my child, but overall a good book and I loved the family.

May 18, 2019


mazinwhistler May 13, 2019

I love books that evoke emotions and this one certainly did. The topic at hand, transgender, is a hot one at the moment. This was a great read as it brought this topic to light in a wonderful way. We are after all just people not matter our gender, social class, religion, sexual choices and so forth. Celebration our individuality is to key to a world that is safe for us all.

Apr 03, 2019

Penn and Rosie are Wisconsin parents of five boys. When the youngest, a preschooler named Claude, begins to gravitate toward dresses as his preferred clothing and expresses a desire to become a girl instead of a boy, his parents are nothing if not supportive. Though Rosie and Penn are progressive thinkers and try to do everything right, their reach can extend only so far outside their home, and it's unclear if the community is ready for Claude's evolution into "Poppy."

I enjoyed this book, and I'm strongly considering it as a senior book club selection. The extent to which the family's lives are upended, both figuratively and physically, around something as ultimately inconsequential as gender is unsettling. Rosie and Penn's marriage and some of the domestic scenes seemed a bit too perfect at times, but it wasn't difficult to look past that. Recommended.

Mar 06, 2019

book group?

Feb 05, 2019

Amazing novel written to sensitively describe how a family addresses the secret held by their 4th son. If you asked him as a toddler what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would respond "a girl". How the brothers, parents, friends and community manage their feelings and interactions with Claude/Poppy is with understanding, questions, fear, emotions and also love. An excellent read that makes you fall for the family, feel their love for their son/daughter, and also see the challenges Poppy and family will have to address as Poppy makes her decisions as she matures. Laurie Frankel provides an open opportunity to see inside their world.

DPL_Graham Jan 18, 2019

Rosie desperately wants a girl. She’s wanted one ever since she played make believe with her sister who tragically died when she was young. Rosie longs to name a child “Poppy” after her sister. In a house overrun by four young boys and a stay at home writer dad, Rosie needs some female companionship.

With the birth of their fifth child, Rosie’s dreams slowly come true, but in a way none of them expected. Indeed, Claude comes out with male genitalia and the dream of having a girl is crushed. That is, until Claude starts to wear dresses around the house and insist on going by Poppy. While the family is supportive of what they at first think of as a phase, the rest of the world isn’t so kind.

Yes, the story is entertaining if not a little deus ex machina in end, but the real value comes from the great husband and wife dialog and the uncomfortable and all too real situations they find themselves in. The novel makes you consider the intricacies of having a possibly-possibly not male to female small child with gender dysphoria. Would you tell other parents? What about their friends? What would the school says? Who would you allow to play with your child? Is protection and complete shielding from the harshness of life and outside reality a good idea? All these thoughts and more rolled around in my head as I read.

I only have one friend who is trans but I know the length that outsiders go to cause him pain. In restaurants, walking in public, and just living his life in general he is accosted with angry rants and people out to cause him pain for no reason other than his existing in their presence. The rate of violence against those who are trans and the rate of suicide for that same group is exponentially higher than other groups. This is an important book whether you want children or not that provides empathy and understanding of serious and complex issues that you may never face.

Jan 11, 2019

Such a beautiful, touching, funny, interesting story!

Dec 27, 2018

This book opened my eyes and heart to the smallest and mightiest details that one may encounter in this world, in a family, in a school, in a slumber party, in our bodies, when we are born into a body that isn't who we are. It addresses big issues in an honest and humorous way about what we keep private, how we hold secrets and what is nobody's business but our own.
The writing is smart and even though the author says it is a controversial subject it is in my opinion what most parents ultimately want for their children. It is in fact what most of us want for ourselves and the children we were, not to be judged, to be accepted for who we are. Life is hard enough and this story can shine a light on being part of the solution rather than adding to the problem of acceptance and dignity.
An excellent choice for a book group discussion.

Oct 11, 2018

Reese Witherspoon's October 2018 book club selection.
This book will make you stop and think about so many issues and from so many perspectives. Definitely a lot of "What would you do?" moments to keep the reader turning pages.

Sep 13, 2018

This is a beautifully written novel tying together the narratives of many characters & the journey they are all collectively embarking upon together. Laurie Frankel has a unique style of writing that keeps the reader engaged and eagerly turning each page. Definitely a favorite novel of the year so far.

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