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This Is How It Always Is: A Novel Hardcover – 24 January 2017
“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
About the Author
- Publisher : Flatiron Books (24 January 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250088550
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250088550
- Item Weight : 522 g
- Dimensions : 16.23 x 2.95 x 24.28 cm
Best Sellers Rank:
#389,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #206,928 in Literature & Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from India
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This family is beautiful and I love them so much. Great parents, amazing siblings. I love them all so much ahhh.
However, the plot. ummm, i just has 2 specific problems with it:
1. After having spent most of the book reading about this family and their dynamics, the last 100 pages (the formative, important part of the story where things are tied up) happens so far away from the family in an entire different continent between just the mother and son. It felt like it lost the entire point of showing the story of this family by removing all the development from the family and making it happen elsewhere between just 2 of the characters.
2. idk how else to interpret this but there's a "look how people in this third world country are suffering, so you should be happy about your life" sorta message at the end - which irked me. They basically showed trans people in a 3rd world country, said "look how happy they are, so now lets go back to our loving happy white family in the US and have a backyard barbeque and contemplate about our first world problems.". Obviously, I'm exaggerating. But I'm also not.
anyways, going back to reading OwnVoices trans stories now.
Find me talking about books on my insta @ZanyAnomaly
The Walsh-Adams family, where four of the five sons have those achingly arch names that seem to connote liberal families, manage their lives with stories and hugs and hands-on parenting. The move to Seattle is fairly successful - Poppy makes close friends, though oldest son Roo is cast a bit adrift - and the family settles in. However, and this is a BIG "however", the very smart parents fail to decide what to say going forward about Poppy's gender-identification. They meet new neighbors and tell them the big family secret, but don't tell anyone else besides some people at school. The next five or so years, where Poppy both blossoms as a little girl, are spent in a rather exhausting game of "we can't let people know". The other "however" they failed to fully consider is what to do as Poppy's body develops as the boy she is physically.
Laurie Frankel's book is well-written and enjoyable. It'll make a good book-club selection as it asks a lot of good questions about society's view of transgender children (and adults). She also brings in how family members deal with their transgender child and brother/sister. The ending is a bit too pat, but is in line with the rest of the plot. It's an interesting read, and the subject is close to Frankel's heart, as you'll read in the afterword.
Top reviews from other countries
I appreciate how challenging it must have been--and possible cathartic as well--for Frankel to tackle a subject so close to her heart; one that is mired in controversy, stigma and misunderstanding. And I think she did so with a special sensitivity borne out of personal experience. So kudos for that.
I felt for little Claude/Poppy, whose innocence is stolen by confusion, fear and deception. And I felt for Rosie and Penn, the parents prepared to make huge sacrifices to do right by their daughter. And I felt for the four older brothers, for being involuntary co-conspirators and for being cast in Poppy's shadow.
I understood the metaphor that was the fairytale of Grumwald and Princess Stephanie. And I got the main messages: that all kids are individuals--some cookier than others--and gender disphoria is just another manifestation of uniqueness; that nothing in life is black and white, so there's no shame in grey; and that often the answers to problems can be found by simply taking a different perspective.
The book is enlightening in many ways, and I'm glad I read it.
BUT, it is way too long. Too much chaff amongst the wheat. And much of the message has to be extracted using a mechanical digger! I have the feeling Frankel was trying too hard to get her message across and repeatedly got bogged down in unnecessary waffle. Perhaps being so close to the subject actually clouded rather than clarified her vision. This wasn't helped by what in my opinion was at times a laborious writing style; sentences were often so long, I lost the thread and had to re-read them. I want my reading to be a joy not a drudge.
So, yes, it was an interesting topic, but it was let down by a heavy-handed narrative. On balance then, I can't give it more than 3 stars.
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The characters in the book are so full and rounded and individual, that having just finished the book and I feel bereft that I can no longer carry on getting to know this family I've recently befriended.
The fairy tale element threaded throughout is magical - as fairy tales should be - and very profound. For the reviewer who didn't really get it, my friend I am so sorry you missed the message when it was so loud and clear. For me, I want to go back to when my kids were small and tell them a nightly story about all the challenges I anticipated for them in life as well as whatever was currently in their lives.
Original and amazing. Thank you Laurie Frankel - you told a story close to your heart and brought it close to ours too
I loved the family dynamic and the fact that the husband and wife roles were somewhat reversed but I began to become irritated with how the parents were dealing with Poppy’s transition.
Some parts of the book felt repetitive and I found parts a little slow - I feel it could have been a lot shorter than it was. Also found the trip to Thailand a bit random and not all that relevant - I understand it helped Poppy find normality with her transition but at the same time it felt a bit far fetched?
Like the idea, think it’s very relevant, but I wasn’t sad when it ended.