Book Review – This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Can I begin with a “Sigh!”?

Honestly, I loved this book. That should suffice for a review, but sadly there has to be more details. This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel is definitely one of my favourite reads of this year. I fell in love with all of the characters in the book – Penn, Rose, the Kids… even the waiting room chair.

This is How It Always Is is a book about a family – Penn and Rosie, a writer and a doctor, and their family.  I wish I could say it was the story of Poppy, but it is their story – the family’s. Penn and Rosie have four boys – Roo, Ben, Rigel and Orion. Rosie desperately wants a daughter, has always wanted one. And she wants to name her daughter Poppy, after the little sister she lost. Her desperation leads her to take drastic steps like having sex in the afternoon *shocked gasp* and eating fish *mundane snicker*. Finally, she gets pregnant for the fifth time, only to have another boy whom they name Claude.

This is How It Always Is
This is How It Always Is

Claude grew up to be a precocious child. The five boys and their parents lived happily amidst all the mess that four boys and their baby brother could make. But soon Claude wanted to wear dresses and bikinis and when he grew up, he wanted to be a girl. There are plenty of times when Claude was not happy and did not conform to the body that he was born with or the definition of his gender that they told him was his. Finally, he declared he wanted to be a girl and be called Poppy! His parents being all that are accepting, and his brothers being brought up under their wing, were all for it. The school was intimated, and rules were changed. Claude became Poppy, wore dresses to school and went about being happy. But not many people were as accepting. Eventually, Rosie, fearing for the well being of her Poppy, decides to leave the home they knew, for the more accepting climes of Seattle. From Wisconsin to Washington they went, leaving all traces of Claude behind.

Poppy thrives after the change. The family adapts and settles into the life they have now. Everything goes well, until years later the secret they hold close to their heart gets exposed. What happens, and how everyone deals with it makes an interesting read.

I wish I could write about it all, but no. That would not do at all. Let’s just say I loved it. I loved everyone and everything about this book. I understand that understanding the topic and acceptance of it are perhaps not for everyone, but when you have a book like This is How It Always Is that portrays love in every page of it, you rejoice in reading it. From Penn, who spent hours wooing Rosie to Mr Tongo and his bouncy exercise balls, you want to pick them and put them in someplace safe and cocooned against the elements and shitty people.

You can get a copy of This is How It Always IsAmazon.


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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews


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