Saturday, March 27, 2021

28. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

listened on Libby/borrowed from the library
narrated by Gabra Zackman  beautifully
Unabridged audio (11:00)
338 pgs.
Contemporary CRF
Finished 3/27/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.25 - 129,079 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: contemporary Wisconsin, then Seattle, then Thailand

First line/s: "But first, Roo was born.  Roosevelt Walsh-Adams.  They had decided to hyphenate because --- and in spite of --- all the usual reasons but mostly so their firstborn could have his grandfather's name without without sounding too presidential, which seemed to his parents like a lot of pressure for a six pound, two ounce, brand-new tiny human."

My comments: The husband is a stay-at-home author dad, the wife's an outstanding ER doctor.  Four sons, and the then fifth Claude, who really wants to be Poppy, right from the start.  A move from Wisconsin to Seattle, for safety, and then on to Thailand for clarity.  Great parents raising great kids amid turmoil and questions and wanting to do the right thing.  There were a few places where I burrowed my brow or scratched my head, a few places there was just a little too much fairytale telling or philosophical thinking, but all in all this was a great story, beautifully narrated.

Goodreads synopsis:  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.
          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.
          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 a novel everyone should read. It’s brilliant. It’s bold. And it’s time.”
―Elizabeth George, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Banquet of Consequences

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