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Publisher's Summary

Perfect for fans of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

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.

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.

©2017 Laurie Frankel (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"A lively and fascinating story of a thoroughly modern family and the giant, multifaceted love that binds them... Sparkles with wit and wisdom." (Maria Semple, best-selling author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
"An intelligent, life-affirming, emotionally charged story." ( Prima)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent read and insight into gender identity

Really enjoyed this novel -- captivating from the get go. All the characters were very believable, and your heart just bleeds for the child at the centre of the story. My only criticism is that the ending felt a bit rushed and tied up too neatly with a bow, and I felt the fairy tale that ran alongside the main story was a bit unnecessary at times and made the message a little too *obvious*. But overall, an elegant and excellent read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I think I’ve played this 25 times

This is a beautiful book, perfectly read. It’s tender and raw and I’m not yet tired of listening to it even though I’ve listened to it every night for over a year. Highly recommend!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • rivkeh
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • 06-01-2018

Brilliant

A tender and beautiful story about love difference and impossible choices in parenting. Best read since A Little Life. Highly highly recommended.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-03-2018

Thought provoking

This book challenged my thinking about a number of things. Some things in life are not straight forward. Very well presented.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alexandra
  • 16-03-2017

A completely genius debut

Transgender issues have been talked about from many different perspectives but through the eyes of five-year-old Claude, Laurie Frankel manages to present us with something entirely new. And in the process, she's managed to make me think about gender and identity in a completely different way. As young Poppy gradually emerges, the listener is encouraged to confront the complexities of the situation as well as realising that they by no means define a person or their potential.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. Laura Mercier
  • 17-06-2017

Perfect

One of those stories you don't want to end. Heartbreaking, beautiful and absolutely gorgeous- a must read!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Boo
  • 11-04-2017

An incredible book!

If you could sum up This Is How It Always Is in three words, what would they be?

Engaging, absorbing and brilliant!

What was one of the most memorable moments of This Is How It Always Is?

Claude/Poppy discovering the 'middle way' and Buddhism in Thailand

What does Gabra Zackman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narration brings a sensitivity and vulnerability to the voice of Poppy and Claude.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was at times heartbreaking, at others life-affirming and left me with a sense of optimism

Any additional comments?

I loved the story, the way it was told and will remember the complex cahracters

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AA
  • 07-03-2017

An intelligent take on gender issues

Where does This Is How It Always Is rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It comes pretty high up!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The scenes where Penn reads the bedtime stories

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely

Any additional comments?

Laurie Frankel has done a brilliant job of presenting to the listener all the most pressing and contentious transgender issues in this accessible, often funny and touching novel. From wanting to wear a dress and carry a handbag on his first day at primary school to hiding a secret from the girlfriends that he loves having sleepovers with, Claude has to navigate some complicated truths on the road to properly becoming Poppy. But the true brilliance of this book is in its consistent ability to make you smile through all the mini-disasters and prejudices of others. And all of that coupled with the fact that this is Frankel's debut!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Disorganised Mum
  • 05-06-2017

Wonderful

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Thought provoking and emotional. Very well done on a tricky subject. Extremely well written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • catherine
  • 26-05-2017

Brilliant, beautiful, sad and thought provoking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

For sure. It's brilliantly written and the plot is like nothing i've ever read before. It has changed the way I think about gender.

What was one of the most memorable moments of This Is How It Always Is?

The relationship between mother, father and their 'child' - I loved seeing how they guided Claude/Poppy through her childhood.

What does Gabra Zackman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Softly narrated in a tone that made me cry - more than once!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

For sure, cry. But in a heart warming way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 06-05-2017

Beautiful book and narration

I loved everything about the story and the narration. A slightly cheesy novel, but nether the less hard hitting & thought provoking. Very well written and great characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jules
  • 17-05-2018

I Really Liked This One

I found this to be a well written book that looked at a very difficult issue from all angles, with intelligence and sensitivity.

It made me smile and it made me sad. It made me question how I would have felt and how I would have dealt with it if one of my children had presented me with the issue that Claude presented his parents with. I particularly liked it when the book touched on how Claude's brothers were affected by his behaviour and the strain of having to keep the secret.

If you're looking for a book that's different and that will make you question yourself and the world you live in then pick this one. It's very well read too. I don't give 5 stars lightly but I consider that this one really deserves them.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate Birnie
  • 20-03-2018

Loved it

I just loved this book, the fairytale within the fairytale. It is so easy to listen to but also hard as this family navigates their way through some of the toughest times imaginable. But, as we discover, should not really be tough times.

The author writes with such a delicate hand, as this is a tough subject to traverse.

I love the family dynamics, the beautiful blend of Claude & Poppy and those who are lucky enough to be part of their journey.

It is thought provoking & beautiful and the narrator is perfect.
Highly recommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christine Knight
  • 16-03-2018

Enlightening

It was a spellbinding book and gives insight to a complex issue ,especially for someone with little or no contact with this event .