This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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. When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it's another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect. But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn aren't panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes. 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"--
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2017
ISBN: 9781250118523
Characteristics: text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

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.

Jan 24, 2018

Rosie and Penn are unmitigated child abusers. Claude is a boy, male. His parents were not wrong in properly identifying him as a boy at birth. By indulging him in his confusion and forcing his confusion and their adusive delusion on their older children they engage in child abuse. This story describes behavior that is not normal and the Seattle Public Library should allow alternative views to be heard to counter this attempt at the normalization of child abuse.

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.

jilllib Oct 10, 2017

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

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!

Jun 18, 2017

Really enjoyed this realistic but humorous take on the difficult subject of raising a transgendered child in today's very difficult world.

Looking forward to checking out the authors other books!

Cynthia_N Mar 16, 2017

I want to know the rest of the story. Tell me about middle school, and high school, and college and beyond. Is she happy? Good read with some hard truths about the guess work of parenting.

Mar 14, 2017

This is an incredibly well written novel about a family's journey into unknown territory. The youngest son, who is very bright and confident, lets them know at a very young age that he is a "girl" and wants to wear his mother's nightgown (which was his costume in a play he had written and produced with his four brothers) to preschool!

And from this point onward the story relates how every member of the family tries to ascertain what is the best and most loving way to live with a transgender child/sibling.

The fears of the parents are especially poignant as they try to make decisions for Poppy as well as the entire family.

The author has a daughter who was born a son, but makes it clear in the afterward, that this is a novel and NOT her daughter's story because "only her daughter can tell that."

Mar 05, 2017

This quirky story of Rosie and Penn, and their family of four sons, hoping the fifth child will finally be a daughter, goes off in all kinds of often weird, humorous, sad, and ultimately wise directions. To start with, Rosie's an ER doc, and Penn a stay at home dad writing the great American novel. Then the hoped for daughter is a fifth son. Except that when he's three, he declares that he wants to be a girl. And they let him--at home. The secret, they think, will be easy to keep, in progressive Madison, WI, and later in even more progressive Seattle. But Poppy gets outed, and it's utterly painful, so painful that Poppy punishes herself by retreating into the boy persona. Healing begins when Rosie and Poppy go to Thailand to keep the mother out of trouble at work. The clinic she works at has nothing--except love--to offer its clients. There's even a school, and they assume the child who speaks English like an expert has been sent to teach the language to the children there. Mother and child also notice that in Thailand there's a third sex, between the other two. Maybe that's a place to start for Poppy when she and her mother go home. Even though this is a trendy topic at the moment, it's beautifully written, by the mother of a trans child. Love the orange cover, too. Having lived in both settings made me like it even more.

JCLCherylMY Mar 04, 2017

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel is a powerful story about a mother and father faced with making a life-altering decision concerning their youngest child. Excellent book on a timely subject. Reading Group Guide available at

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at PPL

To Top