This Is How It Always Is

  • by Laurie Frankel
  • Narrated by Gabra Zackman
  • 11 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
Laurie Frankel's This Is How It Always Is is an audiobook 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This is a great book

Very timely now that the Trump administration plans to roll back protections for transgender kids in schools by allowing individual states to decide which bathroom these kids have to use. Hopefully readers will become more educated about this vulnerable population.
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- Jeannie M.

Change is hard, especially if it's your child

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about a transgender child, Claude/Poppy, born into a large and loving family, how that family comes to accept that Claude wants to be a girl when he grows up, what they do to help that happen, the missteps they make, and secrets they try to keep.

"This is how it always is. You have to make these huge decisions on behalf of your kid, this tiny human whose fate and future is entirely in your hands, who trusts you to know what’s good and right and then to be able to make it happen. If…you make the wrong call, well, nothing less than your child’s entire future and happiness is at stake."

I'm not sure your child's entire future and happiness is at stake with parental wrong calls (at least I hope not), but parenting is full of tough calls, and dealing with transgender issues must be one of the toughest. That's part of what makes writing this book so brave; it's a reality for Laurie Frankel.

Frankel has made it clear in interviews that this book isn't specifically about her daughter, but it does present in fictional form issues and feelings that parents of a gender dysphoric child may have to deal with. I wish this novel had been slightly less preachy, and there is a therapist character that I'm not sure provided any useful therapy, but I enjoyed reading This Is How It Always Is mainly because it made me think and delve further. Is gender dysphoria a sort of spectrum, ranging from people who simply enjoy dressing in clothes of the opposite sex, to people who truly want to be the opposite sex? I don't know, nor am I sure there are really answers to that question, but this novel made me want to find out more, and also hope that I've been an accepting, loving, and protective parent myself.
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- Bonny

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-24-2017
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio