Monday, 27 March 2017

Book Review: This is How it Always is

This Is How It Always Is
By Laurie Frankel
Published by Headline
Published in hardback and ebook
Paperback is forthcoming

This is How it Always Is is a book you need to read. Laurie Frankel's latest novel is a complex and powerful novel about gender, families and the way secrets turn to lies.

Rosie and Penn have always wanted a daughter especially after having four sons. They try one last time, and Claude is born. Five sons all full of beans, charging through the house.

Life is busy, full of noise, happiness and chaos for this big family. Claude announces one day, he wants to be a girl when he grows up. Rosie and Penn let Claude wear dresses, grow long hair, wear bikinis in the summer, and dream of becoming a princess. Claude's parents are happy for Claude to be whoever he or she wants. Claude's brothers and grandma are accepting, and do not question Claude's transformation.

Yet, the problems begin at school with the teachers wanting to follow protocol, demanding Claude make a definitive answer on gender. The shock spreads across their neighbours and friends. Everyone has an opinion and they are willing to express their views. Frankel takes the reader on a bold journey as the family as they battle for acceptance, becoming wrapped in secrets, lies and insecurities. The families frustrations and triumphs are so detailed and amazing. This is a family who deserves to find their place within this world.

Rosie and Penn face an impossible dilemma - should Claude change or should they try to change the world. Frankel will have you thinking about the way we define ourselves in a world with ingrained expectations on how we should live and behaviour.

This is a touching, thought-provoking novel full of warmness and joy as a family struggle to find a place in their community. This is How it Always is can be purchased from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy to review by the publisher.

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