This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel reviewed

This Is How It Always Is Book Cover This Is How It Always Is
Headline Review
January 11, 2018

'A very special book about a family with a secret. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think.' Liane Moriarty, No. 1 bestselling author of BIG LITTLE LIES Laurie Frankel's THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is 'a sparkling tale about the power of secrets, loyalty and love' (Sunday Mirror). Perfect for readers of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES and A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS. 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 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. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. 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. 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.

This is how it Always is by Laurie Frankel is the story of Rosie, a doctor, and Penn, a writer. They have four boys and, wanting a girl, they have a fifth, Claude. From a very early age Claude is inclined towards not identifying as male. This is the story of the journey of Claude’s parents and siblings dealing with Claude’s identity issues.

Initially I found the style of writing took a little getting used to. Equally there were a few Americanisations that I was not familiar with. The characters were all fairly credible and largely interesting. I found the outline of this story appealing. I’m pleased that this general topic is now being written about in mainstream literature. All credit to the author for tackling this subject and very openly. Claude’s insistence on wearing female clothes very early on in school certainly presented challenges

While the writing was perfectly good it was also very descriptive which slowed down the story for me. I found was never really fully engaged with the narrative unfortunately. It is not a bad read but some aspects of the story did strike me as less than credible. It is a pity because I do think the basic idea for this book is very good indeed. I notice that plenty of other readers find this a good story so it may simple be that it is a personal thing and I trust the book will be successful.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review