This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel– Audi0
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.
My Review: 4 stars
This Is How It Always Is will take you on a journey of unconditional love as a family’s youngest son, at age three, claims he wants to be a girl when he grows up. It was not the answer they expected, but certainly one they accepted. With humor, love and excellent writing, author Laurie Frankel takes on these timely and uncomfortable subjects of transgender and gender dysphoria.
This book really hits hard in relation to parenting. Can a parent make decisions about gender? If yes, for how long? At what age is it up to the child? How can you trust a 5-year-old’s opinion when they still believe in fairytales and play with toys? Who should the parents tell? How does this affect the other siblings? How will teachers react? Other playmates? The questions are never ending and so are the answers. Mistakes are made and attitudes change as the parents wade through unchartered waters of their 5th child.
The author comes to this story with experience, as her own child is transgender. She is a novelist, so this book is fiction, yet I’m sure her own familiarity with the topic is what makes this book so relatable and not at all preachy.
I listened to the audio book and this narrator did several voices with complete ease. She performed with a rhythm that was pleasing to listen to and even got my husband listening when he was in the car with me.
Although the title has meaning, it kept reminding me of a Carole King or Carly Simon song. I would’ve preferred a shorter more concise title such as Poppy or Fairy Night Princess. I am certain this book will take book clubs by storm, as the conversations that will stem from this novel are endless.
Quotes I liked:
You can’t tell people what to be, I’m afraid. You can only love and support who they already are.”
“If you give all your worry to one thing, soon you’ll realize that’s way too much and worry about it less and you’ll feel more in control of it for keeping it at the front of your mind and that will help you worry less too.”
-“How did you teach your small human that it’s what’s inside that counts when the truth was everyone was pretty preoccupied with what you put on over the outside too?”
-“ …he was only five, but he tried to comfort his parents anyway. ‘I just feel a little bit sad. Sad isn’t bleeding. Sad is okay.'”