This Is How It Always Is

This book took me by surprise, it had the soothing effect of a story of family life whilst tackling some big decisions, that not all families have to face.

Rosie has always wanted a baby girl and prays that her fourth pregnancy will bring her one. With four boys (twins – if you’re working out the maths!), you may think her yearning is about the balance of sexes in the house, but her desire for a girl runs deeper, losing her sister when she was only a child has had a lasting effect.

Nevertheless, when Claude is born, Rosie isn’t devastated, a healthy boy is something to be grateful for and she continues to be a fabulous mother to five boys, with the help of her sweet husband, Penn.

Except one day, Claude decides he wants to wear dresses and hair clips. What are Rosie and Penn to do? Claude’s older brothers want to protect him from the nasty people in the world and plead with him to dress and act like a boy. The elder boys plead to their parents to intervene. But Claude is so young, surely it’s just a phase?

When Claude begins to close off from the world, Rosie and Penn quit telling him to change out of his dresses and embrace who Claude wants to be. After all, a parent only wants their kid to be happy.

When Claude tells his parents he wants to be called Poppy, Rosie is emotional – Poppy was the name of the sister she misses so much… however, by embracing Claude’s/Poppy’s happiness, the older boys suffer.

A move to Seattle causes a ripple in the family dynamic. Seattle is supposed to be a fresh start. No one ones knows the family secret and Poppy is happy, can it last though?

This tale captured parenting in a very ‘real’ way, it explored the balance of respecting your kids’ wishes against being the ‘adult’ and protecting them from the outside world, and the conclusion? There’s no clear cut, mistakes will be made and you can’t begin to assume what everyone else’s opinions will be.

Whilst the main takeaway from the book is being able to understand some of the thoughts and opinions that run through families with a child who is trying to understand their true ‘self’; which includes exploring their gender. There is a whole lot more that this book offers!

It’s the story of five kids growing up and their relationship with their parents.

It’s about two parents who are still so clearly madly in love but need to look past their different opinions on certain aspects of parenting and find time to be together.

It’s about a mother balancing work and home life.

It’s about self discovery and being comfortable with who you truly are.

Expressive and honest, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr.

The paperback version hit shops this Thursday  – 11th January

Until next time, Chloé x

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