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This Is How It Always Is

Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Length: 11 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)
Regular price: $21.31
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Publisher's Summary

The Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick.

A New York Times Audio best seller.

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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    5 out of 5 stars

Favourite book of the year

I loved everything about this story! It is well crafted, insightful, tender, deals with complex issues in an authentic and believable way. beautiful performance by the reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexandra (Audible Editor)
  • 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.

4 of 4 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Disorganised Mum
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Chloe
  • 02-14-19

Brilliant story

Really enjoyed this book, a lovely coming of age story bought into the 21st century.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • danielle Ferguson
  • 02-08-19

Great book

I loved this book, it pulled at my heart strings from being to end :)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-17-18

beautiful!

beautiful story, made even more beautiful by the voice of the narrator!

emotional at times but a story worth listening to!

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  • Jennifer
  • 12-10-18

Beautifully written and performed

Loved it. Sensitively handled and developed. The story had me engaged, inspired, amused and emotional.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • anthony
  • 11-10-18

Fantastic

What a beautiful story. I loved the parents and their supportive nature, they were so wonderfully written. The characters are developed well, could not stop listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dina Davis
  • 02-04-19

A story of Difference

The theme of gender dysphoria is treated sensitively by Laurie Frankel. It was well dramatised by Gabra Zackman. However the plot is repetitive & lacks tension, with an unsatisfying either-or ending. The sentimentality was at times hard to stomach. And Frankel’s use of the word ‘absent’ for ‘without’ was irritating to this non-American reader.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol
  • 01-30-19

Tooooo long

I did not finish this title. The story is an interesting one, and the way a child's life can change the lives of those who love them can be remarkable. Unfortunately, the writing was so overly verbose I found myself fast forwarding too much and eventually I had to give up.

I found the narrator read the mother Rose with flat affect and it really bothered me.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cath
  • 01-20-19

Beautifully written!

I loved this book. Beautifully written about such an important subject. The narration is great too.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • helen
  • 01-07-19

Wanted to love it

The premise of the story was really interesting, as were the dilemmas faces by this family. But it was overly long winded in description and..... sorry to say .... boring

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaye J Misuraca
  • 12-31-18

WOW WOW!

My absolute pick for of 2018! Beautiful, sensitive, gripping, beautifully read and a must for parents - eye opening!
Don’t miss this amazing and insightful read!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-23-18

Outstanding. I’m so sad it’s finished.

Incredible complex story. Beautifully written. Beautifully narrated. I wish I could start all over again.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • ally burgo
  • 12-20-18

Ok, but cheesy

I really liked that the book tackled the issues that it did, but it tied it up all too neatly. This really didn’t give a realistic representation of what it is like to be a transgender kid in a binary world.

It’s a beach read for people who don’t want to read romance novels.

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  • janie rose
  • 12-20-18

Loved this book - beautifully written and narrated

I absolutely loved listening to this book; the writing and characters were wonderful and I just didn't want it to end. It just takes you on a lovely journey!