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This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
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This is How It Always Is

by Laurie Frankel

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Growing up is painful, and this novel explores the extra layer of pain and confusion of growing up transgender. Born Claude, the youngest of five boys, even as a toddler the child shows interest in things deemed female and even takes up wearing dresses. Parents Rosie and Penn do their best to accept Claude for who he is, even as he seems to decide he isn't a he at all. Various family and friends struggle to accept this reality, and Rosie and Penn go as far as moving their entire family from Wisconsin to Seattle in search of a more accepting environment for their youngest child. Claude starts to go by Poppy, but the transformation is still rocky, particularly after Poppy's biological gender becomes the subject of gossip at her new school. This novel provoked a lot of thinking and I'd highly recommend it for those trying to understand the struggles of transgender children. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jan 15, 2019 |
This story is about a family with five children. After having 4 children - all boys - Penn and Rosie decide they want one more. Secretly hoping for a girl, Rosie tries a lot of superstitious things to make it so. In the end, Claude - their 5th boy - is born.



As Claude grows, it becomes clear that he isn't comfortable in his body. He frequently asks to wear dresses, and play with dolls, and be a princess. At first the family believes that he is just exploring because he has 4 brothers who like nothing but trucks and tumbling. But when he parents ask Claude what he wants to be when he grows up - he tells them he wants to be a girl.



By the time Claude is ready for Kindergarten, he has changed his name to Poppy and goes to school every day as a girl. Then one fated playdate causes the whole family to decide they are in the wrong place to raise a little girl who used to be a boy. They pick up their family and move to Seattle to start over where no one knows that Poppy used to be Claude.



Years pass until one day the family secret is revealed, and the whole family is upended. Now they need to decide if keeping Poppy's secret was the best decision they made for her.



This was a good book. I thought it was well written and a fast read. The author's small little quips throughout the dialog made a heavy subject a little lighter. The story is full of valuable lessons, and ways that a family deals with a very tough situation. Transgender children still struggle in school and in life. It talks of loving our children no matter what and how we as parents need to love and support our children through all their difficult choices. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Really liked. Lots of think about with this book. ( )
  SBG1962 | Dec 27, 2018 |
This book is ABSOLUTELY amazing. I listened to it and the reading is mesmerizing. I hope if it is read it is just a pulling. The story is SO upfront of today's social issues. Strongly suggested to ALL. ( )
  JulieW121 | Dec 14, 2018 |
SO thought provoking! ( )
  LASMIT | Nov 21, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Is it always "or"?
Is it never "and"?
---STEPHEN SONDHEIM, INTO THE WOODS
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
---WALT WHITMAN, "SONG OF MYSELF"
Dedication
For D.R.M.H.M.F. my someone
First words
But first, Roo was born.
Quotations
There's a fork in the road.  It seems like there are only two choices.  It seems like the task is to figure out which way to go, left or right, forward or back, deeper or safer, but in fact any if those choices is easy compared to the real trick.  The real trick is you have to forge your own way straight ahead through the trees where there is no path.
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"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"--… (more)

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