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This Is How It Always Is: A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK Kindle Edition
An astonishing balance of humour, complexity, and above all, kindness
Huge heart, humour and compassion. A sparkling tale about the power of secrets, loyalty and love, this novel is wonderfully engaging, gorgeously written and has characters that will captivate you (Sunday Mirror)
Heart-warming and funny... I found this both unputdownable and enlightening. I'm so glad I've read it - I know so much more about life now
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
An intelligent, life-affirming, emotionally charged story. This is a very relevant read for today's world - it'll make you laugh and cry (Prima)
Wonderful, magical (Red)
Thought-provoking and topical (Woman & Home)
Written with wry humour and compassion, this is a personal story of parenting, love and understanding (Sunday Express)
A touching novel (Good Housekeeping) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
Laurie Frankel writes novels (reads novels, teaches other people to write novels, raises a small person who reads and might someday write novels) in Seattle, Washington. She and her husband and daughter live on a nearly vertical hill from which Laurie can watch three different bridges when she's staring out her windows between words.
Laurie's earlier novels are The Atlas of Love and Goodbye For Now. This Is How It Always Is is her third novel.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B01INGSRP2
- Publisher : Review (26 January 2017)
- Language : English
- File size : 2425 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 420 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #72,245 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope you found it helpful. You can find more candid book reviews on my profile page.
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.