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This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel reads like an easy beach read, but with a deeper subject and, in my opinion, better written.

Penn and Rosie are the parents of five boys. They are busy, quirky and present parents. Rosie is a doctor, Penn is forever working on his damn novel. Their kids are happy and free to express their own individual personality. Their world gets turned upside down when, Claude, their youngest, starts to show that he identifies as a girl. Penn and Rosie try to do their best for Claude, allowing him/her to wear dresses and eventually socially transition to Poppy.


However, as well-meaning and seemingly supportive as Rosie and Penn try to be, there are still missteps and misunderstandings as they try to support their youngest child. They put her needs above their other children’s, Rosie leaves a position she loves to live in a more accepting city.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was easy and the inclusion of Penn’s nightly fairy tale was a fun literary device. I appreciated that a story of an ordinary family trying their best to help their transgender child live a happy life could be a mainstream novel.