Claude is the youngest of five in a loving family. Claude knows what he wants to be when he grows up. He wants to be a girl. This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel follows this family as they try to support Claude’s life as Poppy.
While I didn’t personally agree with the decisions the family made (often even the individual members of the family couldn’t agree), I could totally understand the parents’ wish to do whatever it took to make their child(ren) happy. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a fairy tale world. Gender dysphoria is trendy right now, but the reality of transgender is far from life at Disney.
The story is told through the parents’ perspective and at times is rambling and incoherent. The magical trip to Thailand that “resolves” the gender issue isn’t very effective. Yes, there are lady boys in many cultures, but how does that knowledge help a child born in middle-class America cope with the situation on an everyday basis? It doesn’t.
Despite some blatantly unrealistic aspects of the story, reading about Poppy’s experiences was both poignant and frustrating. As parents, we really want the best for our children. But who’s to say what that really means? For that reason alone, This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel is worth your time.