- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Flatiron Books; First Edition edition (January 24, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250088550
- ISBN-13: 978-1250088550
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 205 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
This Is How It Always Is: A Novel Hardcover – January 24, 2017
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
An Amazon Best Book of January 2017: In recent years we’ve seen an increasing number of memoirs from transgender individuals and from parents forging uncharted waters in order to help their transgender children live happy, healthy lives in a society that still largely defines gender by what’s in your pants. In her novel This is How It Always Is Laurie Frankel takes those real-life experiences and puts them into a big-hearted story of family and secrets. Penn and Rosie are a close, loving couple, living in Madison, Wisconsin with their five boys. But it becomes evident before long that their youngest, Claude, feels like he should have been born a girl. So how do these strong, supportive parents go about helping their son live as the person he wants to be? It’s a fascinating thing to behold. The nuances and unforeseen pitfalls of trying to protect your child from fear and hate while nurturing a sense of acceptance is daunting. What is private and what is a secret, and what is, really, nobody’s business? Sometimes secrets have a way of materializing in the blink of an eye or the span of an innocuous question, and this novel is about the lengths we will go, as parents and siblings, to protect each other. And how we react when our secrets are exposed. This is How It Always Is in an incredible read that speaks to the heart of what it means to love and be loved by family. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
“It’s early days, but this big-hearted novel about a family with a transgender child is in the lead for the most sensitively and sincerely told story of 2017…Frankel’s portrayal of even the most openhearted parents’ doubts and fears around a child’s gender identity elevates this novel.”
―People, “Book of the Week”
“Deeply satisfying…An intimate family story…Day-to-day parenting dilemmas are where Frankel shines.”
―The New York Times Book Review
“Brave, complicated, occasionally horrifying and frequently very funny…Frankel is a first-rate storyteller."
“Frankel has tackled this controversial topic in a warm, funny and honest way and one that will undoubtedly spark thought and conversation.”
―The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Frankel’s writing is witty and wise, and her characters are reminiscent of those in family capers such as the film The Royal Tenenbaums or Commonwealth, Ann Patchett’s recent novel about an eclectic brood…This is a fascinating, gut-wrenching, timely and enjoyable read―and a must for your next book-club discussion.”
“This Is How It Always Is isn’t only a novel about the challenges of life with an atypical child. It’s a story about the challenges of parenting and love, period...This beautiful story is deeply personal, a heart-rending glimpse of an author writing her way to understanding.”
“A novel of great empathy and compassion that transcends politics…This is a family that you will take into your heart and―like all friends―you will welcome the changes that they bring to your life.”
―The Seattle Review of Books
“Sly and charming…Comes at the perfect time…This Is How It Always Is explores the travails of a modern family, where challenges about a child’s gender are the same as any other struggles of growing up.”
“A bold, honest, heartbreaking story about the choices parents make, and how life goes on, but not always according to plan. This must-read novel… is the perfect pick for book clubs.”
“One of the most timely and big-hearted family stories I have read in a long time…This is a beautiful novel about the unexpected curve balls of parent and sibling relationships, and the limitless boundaries of family love.”
“This wise and often funny novel is a compassionate lesson in discovering and welcoming what makes each of us unique.”
“Illuminatingly nuanced and heartfelt, This Is How It Always Is is the story of how a family evolves―and grows―together."
“Sharp and surprising. This is a wonderfully contradictory story―heartwarming and generous, yet written with a wry sensibility.”
―Publishers Weekly ("Pick of the Week," starred review)
"Well-plotted, well-researched, and unflaggingly interesting...As thought-provoking a domestic novel as we have seen this year."
―Kirkus (starred review)
“I was lucky enough to receive an advance reading copy of this very special book about a family with a secret. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think. Preorder your copy now.”
―Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Truly Madly Guilty
“Laurie Frankel writes with more heart than anyone I can think of...With emotional acuity, admirable bravery, utter compassion, and complete understanding, she’s created a family attempting to forge a path through one of life’s most mystifying challenges: how to define what it is that makes your child who he or she is: unique, beloved, and whole. This is a novel everyone should read. It’s brilliant. It’s bold. And it’s time.”
―Elizabeth George, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Banquet of Consequences
“In This is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel spins a beguiling tale of a sprawling, loving, ever-changing, unconventional, and yet completely typical modern family as they make their way though a world with no easy answers and no magic solutions. How does Frankel pull off such a story? With great humor and candor. With a powerful narrative voice, and a forthrightness so compelling, we are drawn into the family circle to laugh and cry with them, and to ponder issues great and small. An intimate, wonderfully moving novel that is especially relevant in today’s world.”
―Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
“This is a perfect book club book, a book that should be read in schools, and one of my favorite reads of the year. A challenging subject handled with honesty, grace, humor, dignity, and most of all, love.”
―Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
“A lively and fascinating story of a thoroughly modern family and the giant, multifaceted love that binds them. This Is How It Always Is sparkles with wit and wisdom.”
―Maria Semple, New York Times bestselling author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“Laurie Frankel has written one of those very rare, special novels that examines the way we live―in our homes, in our families, in our bodies―with an astonishing balance of humor, complexity, and above all, kindness. This Is How It Always Is teaches us to look beyond the traditional binary oppositions of boy vs. girl, right vs. wrong, real vs. make-believe, and to find courage and beauty in the in-between.”
―Ruth Ozeki, New York Times bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
The way in which, despite the unfamiliarity of the topic to me, Frankel made it feel relatable. I don’t have a lot of experience or knowledge of transgender issues but sometimes I’ve thought about what it would be like to have a transgender child. I’ve told myself that if I did, I would do my absolute utmost to make sure they were able to accept themselves, be who they wanted to be and feel accepted by society as well. I feel like in This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel’s exploration of a transgender child’s experience and also her family’s reaction, hits very close to what I imagine in my mind that I would do as a parent in Poppy’s parents’ (Rosie and Penn) shoes. There’s a rawness to the narrative. Frankel doesn’t tiptoe around Rosie and Penn’s discomfort or pretend that they immediately understand their child’s needs and respond perfectly to them. Rather they stumble along, as unsure of what lies ahead of them as I think many of us would feel as well if faced with this kind of significant event in our child’s life. I’m not a parent and yet Frankel made this very specific type of parental experience so real and poignant to me. I could feel Rosie’s fear for Poppy and Penn’s yearning to make an utterly complex situation simple.
The writing. Frankel’s writing is not the traditional and flowery literary prose I tend to prefer – her style is more modern and at some points like stream of consciousness writing. I really appreciated its immediacy and the way in which the author brought the reader into her characters’ minds in the middle of their thought process. I can tell you that my though-process is nowhere near as incisive as Rosie’s, Penn’s or Poppy’s are at times throughout the novel, but the maxims on human experience the characters uncover as they are rolling thoughts and ideas around in their own minds or having late night discussions with each other feel organic and sincere. I think it’s this style of writing that is purposefully imperfect (run-on at times and then right after choppy, to mimic actual dialogue or a realistically convoluted thought pattern), that makes Frankel’s characters feel so realistic and human.
The main character. Poppy is only 3 when she begins to discover that she may not be Claude after all. I was emotional at several different points throughout the novel, and they always coincided with my sadness, frustration or worry for Poppy that mirrored her parents’ concerns for her as well. While Poppy is shown as vulnerable, young and in need of protection, Frankel also portrays her as wise beyond her years, thoughtful and incredibly strong at times. This duality to Poppy’s character is explored by Frankel as she is in between deciding whether to be 100% Poppy, 100% Claude or someone else. Rather than representing male or female, Claude and Poppy come to embody two different types of people, the first who hides and conforms at the expense of his happiness, and the second who is authentic to who she is and flourishes as a result. I really felt that this switch from thinking of Claude and Poppy in terms of their gender to thinking of them in terms of their differing emotions and outlooks was such a poignant way on Frankel’s part of reframing the issue. It’s not about girl or boy, male or female. It’s about happy or unhappy, authentic or inauthentic, being yourself or being forced to be someone else.
What I Didn’t Like
The fairytale interludes. I appreciated how the author had Penn, the father of the family, make up fairytales at night for his children that intertwined with the actual experiences they were facing in their lives. I understood the role that these fairytales played as plot devices and to subvert traditional narratives of the expected roles of princes and princesses inherent in most children’s upbringings. However, I felt like at times the fairytale portions of the novel ran long and also felt slightly trite or cheesy, so among a novel that was filled with memorable, moving passages, they were definitely my least favorite part.
This novel will break your heart only to put it back together again the right way around. It will inform you through the eyes of an imaginary transgender 3 year-old who you will want to protect as if she were your own. It will make you epically sad and then make you want to go out and be exactly who you’ve always felt you are, whatever that means.
I've never read anything by Laurie Frankel but just ordered two more of her books and am looking forward to reading them.
Rosie and Penn's romance didn't ring true to me, but when I realized fairy-tales were a big part of the story and the lives of this family, it sat a little better to me. But the book didn't really get to me until the couple started having children. Each kid has such a unique personality and the whole family dynamic comes across in a very real and fresh way.
And then of course, a glitch in the idyll. Claude, the youngest of Penn and Rosie's five sons, wants to be a princess.
To begin with the family don't think a lot about it. Kids play dress-up all the time. Okay, so the older four never wanted gowns, but Claude is only five.
Soon it becomes clear Claude doesn't just want to pay at being a princess; he wants to be a girl. And everything changes for the family. The school is not as understanding as it should be. Other kids are fine with it, but their parents aren't.
After a violent incident with one of Claude's friends' fathers and Rosie treats the victim of a beating in the ER where she works, the family up-sticks and move across country to a new home where Claude has never existed and the family has four sons and a daughter named Poppy.
This book is about keeping secrets. And what happens when eventually, that secret gets out. It's a book about parenting and how to parent a child who is wholly different to your other children. It's about identity and being true to yourself.
The author is the mother of a transgender child, but she takes great care to point out this isn't her child's story. But there is a ring of authenticity about the ways Penn and Rosie react in certain circumstances.
Definitely one I recommend.
Most recent customer reviews
This is How it Always Is immediately grabbed me as a wonderful story about marriage and family.Read more