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InstaReview: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

"I wish for my child, for all our children, a world where they can be who they are and become their most loved, blessed, appreciated selves."

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel was the rare book that polarized your beloved OWC. The story is about a mother's experience with a transgender daughter. But even more so than that, the book is a family saga, exploring the relationships between the parents and their 5 children. What rubbed several of us the wrong way was the self-indulgence of the mother- the story centers on HER struggles coming to terms with and supporting her child, rather than focusing on the experiences and feelings of her child. However, while this is a work of fiction, it is derived from Frankel's experiences with her own transgender girl, and so we know that Frankel could have received criticism if she didn't "write what she knows" and wrote too much in the voice of Claude/Poppy, her child. We appreciated the nuanced discussions that occur in this book- the debate between the parents on whether to intervene or not and allow Poppy to take hormone blockers. However, the enthusiasm for this particular nuance was tampered down by some other obvious plot devices- such as an international trip that allows mother and daughter to work through thoughts and feelings and see another society's acceptance of various gender expressions. Ultimately, we still think this book is worth gifting to your mother-in-law, if nothing else, to expose her to another way of thinking.


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