AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: This Is the How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Format: Audio
Genre:  LGBTQ+ 
Narrator: Gabra Zackman

Publisher: Macmillan Audio
 11 Hours 07 minutes
Buy: Kindle | Audio


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. 


I received a free copy of this book from Macmillan Audio through I am leaving this review voluntarily. 

I loved this book.  The prose is a bit quirky but it fit with the story and I really enjoyed it.  I loved the ambiguity of the discussions the parents have and I love Poppy. The parents and siblings are brilliantly written in their struggle to help their child/sibling navigate through a world where when you don't fit into a mold it can be a dangerous and scary place to live.  

The internal struggle of raising a transgender child is brought out in the open, how it affects all members of the family, and how secrets can't be kept forever.  Parenting isn't easy and this book illustrates the difficulties in navigating gender dysmorphia. This book and these characters will stay with me for a long time.  It also makes me hope that one day, perhaps, this author will publish the story of the Prince and the Night Fairy that the father tells his children as a bedtime stories throughout their childhood.  

The narration is wonderful and full of emotion. I don't know how or why I missed this when it first came out but I'm so happy it found me again. 

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