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This is how it always is
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  New York Times Review

one pleasure of being a novelist, I imagine, is playing out scenarios from your own life, but tweaking the characters, or setting, or maybe most satisfying, the ending. Laurie Frankel has a son who, in first grade, decided he was a girl. (She recently wrote a Modern Love column for The Times about it.) Her new novel, "This Is How It Always Is," centers on a young boy who decides he is a girl. The fictional family lives in Seattle, just like the author's real family, and they come more or less from the same social class. You can almost see Frankel flipping through the family albums, looking for inspiration. The result is a novel that feels more like a fictionalized account, in ways that are both deeply satisfying and sometimes limiting. Frankel unfolds the story more or less in chronological order: A couple (Penn and Rosie) date, fall in love, have children (five!), and then the last one (Claude) disrupts the expected order by declaring he is a girl (now Poppy). The parents find themselves on new and scary terrain, trying to balance Poppy's safety and happiness in a world where she might be bullied with her need to be herself. This is an intimate family story, and these day-to-day parenting dilemmas are where Frankel shines. "Please God, Rosie prayed, let him be looking at porn." In fact, Penn is Googling vaginoplasties. The book is full of such unexpected encounters you feel Frankel must have lived through, or heard about: The inquisitive 3-year-old who wonders: "When I grow up and become a girl, will I start over?" The kindergartners who are totally unfazed when Poppy changes her name and starts wearing dresses. The resentful older brother who makes a homophobic school project. The looming apocalypse that is puberty. These moments startle, and yet the book feels a little too close to home, a little too, well, safe. Frankel places Poppy in a thoroughly empathetic and loving family, the kind that picks up and moves to Seattle the minute they encounter a whiff of homophobia in their town. Mom and Dad understand, the principal understands, even Grandma is on board; and waiting in the wings is a wise guru of a therapist. What Poppy is living through is extraordinary, unimaginable, and yet one never feels she will be anything but O.K. The greatest risk Frankel takes with Poppy is having her family keep her real identity a secret. When they move to Seattle, they decide not to tell any of her friends she was born a boy. This provides the book's main tension, as Frankel plants, mystery-style, a handful of possible culprits who will unravel the ever elaborate family deception. The last third of the book is more satisfying for being unpredictable, and dangling the possibility that Poppy is going through something as radical and disruptive, even as dangerous, as it seems. By the end, Poppy has to confront what she's been able to avoid. She and the whole family have to embrace her whole identity, and not just the limited one they invented for the world. Frankel doesn't take us all the way through puberty, but she leaves us understanding that Poppy has a long way to go before she settles. This is when I realized that the title of the book is not a political statement but an ironic one, since nothing is how it always is. ? hanna rosin is a co-host ofthe NPR show "Invisibilia," and the author of "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women."

  Обзор Publishers Weekly

Frankel's third novel is about the large, rambunctious Walsh-Adams family. While Penn writes his "DN" (damn novel) and spins fractured fairy tales from the family's ramshackle farmhouse in Madison, Wis., Rosie works as an emergency physician. Four sons have made the happily married couple exhausted and wanting a daughter; alas, their fifth is another boy. Extraordinarily verbal little Claude is quirky and clever, traits that run in the family, and at age three says, "I want to be a girl." Claude is the focus, but Frankel captures the older brothers' boyish grossness. She also fleshes out his two eldest brothers, who worry about Claude's safety when Rosie and Penn agree that Claude can be Poppy at school. But coming out further isolates this unique child. Encouragement from a therapist and an accepting grandma can go just so far; Poppy only blossoms after the Walsh-Adamses move to progressive Seattle and keep her trans status private, although what is good for Poppy is increasingly difficult on her brothers. The story takes a darker turn when she is outed; Rosie and her youngest must find their footing while Penn stays at home with the other kids. Frankel's (The Atlas of Love) slightly askew voice, exemplified by Rosie and Penn's nontraditional gender roles, keeps the narrative sharp and surprising. This is a wonderfully contradictory story-heartwarming and generous, yet written with a wry sensibility. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Обзор School Library Journal

When Claude, who has always resisted stereotypical male behaviors, wants to wear dresses to kindergarten, Rosie and Penn help their young child deal with classmates, parents, teachers, and administrators who don't understand why Claude, who now identifies as female, wants to be called Poppy. After an incident with another parent almost turns violent, the family of seven pick up and move from Madison, WI, to Seattle. Poppy's history remains a secret-until she's in fifth grade. Penn, an aspiring writer and stay-at-home dad, also experiences a journey of self-discovery as he develops his talent for storytelling. Though the third-person perspective revolves mostly around the parents, it will still resonate with teens. Many readers will identify with Poppy, while others will gain fresh perspective on gender identity. -VERDICT This thought-provoking, accessible work would make an excellent parent/teen book club choice.-Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
<p> New York Times Bestseller <br> The Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick <br> <br> "Every once in a while, I read a book that opens my eyes in a way I never expected." --Reese Witherspoon (Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine book pick) </p> <br> <p> People Magazine 's Top 10 Books of 2017 <br> Amazon's Best Books of 2017: Top 20 <br> Amazon's Best Literature and Fiction of 2017 <br> Bustle's 17 Books Every Woman Should Read From 2017 <br> PopSugar's Our Favorite Books of the Year (So Far) <br> Refinery29's Best Books of the Year So Far <br> BookBrowse's The 20 Best Books of 2017 <br> Pacific Northwest Book Awards Finalist <br> The Globe and Mail 's Top 100 Books of 2017 <br> Longlisted for 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award <br> <br> "It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think." --Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies <br> <br> This is how a family keeps a secret...and how that secret ends up keeping them.</p> <p> This is how a family lives happily ever after...until happily ever after becomes complicated.</p> <p> This is how children change...and then change the world.</p> <p>This is Claude. He's five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.</p> <p>When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.</p> <p>Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They're just not sure they're ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes.</p> <p>Laurie Frankel's 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.</p>
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