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Publisher's Summary

Laurie Frankel's This Is How It Always Is is a warm, touching and bittersweet novel about a family that's just like any other - until it's not. For fans of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time - and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that when he grows up, he wants to be a girl. As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, This Is How It Always Is is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry - and see the world differently.

©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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • alexandra
  • 03-16-17

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. Laura Mercier
  • 06-17-17

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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  • Boo
  • 04-11-17

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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  • AA
  • 03-07-17

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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  • Rachel T.
  • 06-05-17

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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  • catherine
  • 05-26-17

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

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  • Laura
  • 05-06-17

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

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  • Linden
  • 10-18-17

One of the best

I found this a truly wonderful book. It is gentle, but so thought provoking. Beautifully narrated - it will stay with me for ever.

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  • Cebe Seren
  • 09-02-17

Beautiful, funny, thoughtful, thought-provoking

Loved the subject, the family, the humour, the interwoven fairy tale. Expertly performed. Didn't want it to end.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-15-17

Wonderful story, but...

I loved, loved this story.. I loved how honest and truthful it was, in that there are no definitive answers.
...however, I did have an issue with the performance. It was simply too fast, and I say that as a fast talker. Slowing it down to .75 made it monotone, but at standard speed I found myself having to actively concentrate, and twice I actually gave up. The only thing drawing me back was the plot, otherwise the speed was enough of a put-off to desist altogether.