This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

A Novel

Book Club Kit - 2017
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This is Claude. He's five years old, the youngest of five brothers. He also 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.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2017
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781250088550
1250088550
9781250088567
1250088569
Characteristics: 10 books and 1 reading guide in a plastic tote
327 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

"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."


From the critics


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s
susanlovesbooks
Jul 09, 2018

This book was beautiful, funny, and insightful with every member of the family fully realized and alive. Tenderly and perfectly read by Gabra Zackman, I could feel the emotions of each character and how they were feeling as they encountered different challenges along the way. The journey of this family, through their secrets to a new and better place out in the open was both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

ArapahoeAnnaL May 26, 2018

Well written and engaging, this domestic novel provides much pleasure and also food for thought. The teenage boys are funny and charming; the parents conscientious yet light hearted. Frankel does a beautiful job of bringing the reader into the world of a family seeking the happiest life for their transgender little girl. Frankel is the mother of a transgender child in real life. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred reviews.

l
laphampeak
Apr 10, 2018

I thought the author revealed one particular family with a transgender child amidst a vast array of other family issues surrounding this as well as the unique challenges for families in general. Knowing this is fiction I was able to embrace those issues that are relevant, timely, and of great importance in understanding a bit of what raising a transgender child is like. Frankel came across sharp, witty, and creative.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Apr 02, 2018

I had such high hopes for this book. There aren’t enough books about this topic, and that’s the only reason I’m giving it 2 stars instead of 1. Rosie and Penn are parents to a transgender child, who transitions from being Claude to Poppy as the book progresses. Rosie and Penn are insufferable people, and I felt bad for their five children who were stuck with these obnoxious parents. Rosie is the type of woman who gives her kids quirky, ridiculous names, but then judges a teacher named Becky for not going by Rebecca. The real problem is that there are some really offensive things in this book. Throughout the book Penn tells his kids a fairytale, with Princess Stephanie being a clear stand-in for Poppy. Penn reveals that Princess Stephanie’s big secret is that she’s a night fairy. How did neither the author nor editor realize that equating a kid being transgender with being a fairy was problematic? The book gets even more offensive as Rosie takes their youngest child to Thailand. There Rosie is the Western hero, gracing everyone with her presence. The Thai village is so grateful to have Americans around that they let a 10 year old American kid become a teacher for a class of 25 Thai kids. These parts of the book reek of racism, with a gross message that Thai people are helpless and Thai culture exists solely to make Americans find themselves. There was so much potential in this book, and it was just totally squandered.

ArapahoeLesley Mar 22, 2018

This family portrait about a large family and their struggles and adjustments when young Claude wants to be Poppy, was beautifully written. The characters were lovely, the dialogue was funny and it was an overall uplifting read. Very well read by Gabra Zackman.

c
conniehoppe
Feb 26, 2018

Loved this book. Love the way the author writes. Story that taught me and made me think - sensitive, insightful and often funny.

s
sheilahoff
Nov 06, 2017

This book is a delight to read...I laughed a lot, cried some and found it provocative too. I've been telling EVERYONE to read this book. It's so well written on so many levels. Now I'm going back to read her earlier books.

ArapahoeAlyson Oct 24, 2017

I loved this book! Timely, nuanced characters, interesting domestic ficiton...
This would make a great book club choice and a good choice for anyone wanting to learn more about the experiences of a transgender person.

jilllib Oct 10, 2017

A fictional account of gender dysphoria in a little boy/girl.

l
laphampeak
Jul 13, 2017

A timely story that takes us to the depths of feeling and social interactions of a young transgender child. Frankel draws on her experience to help us see into the world that we may otherwise only hear about. It fell short of 5 stars because the subject matter was handled superbly but lacked a cohesive background - all of a sudden Rosie and Poppy went to Singapore to have cultural input on transgender philosophy? I did like that I moved from Wisconsin to Seattle and I share some of what author said about the state's difference.
This is a great book for discussion groups!

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