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338 pages, Kindle Edition
First published January 4, 2017
“Well. Usually boys don’t wear dresses to preschool,” Rosie admitted carefully. “Or tights.”
“I’m not usually,” said Claude. This, Rosie reflected, even at the time, was true.
“Little boys do not wear dresses.” Miss Appleton tried to channel her usual patience. “Little girls wear dresses. If you are a little boy, you can’t wear a dress. If you are a little girl, you have to use the nurse’s bathroom.”
“Meaning if he is a girl, he has gender dysphoria, and we will accommodate that. If he just wants to wear a dress, he is being disruptive and must wear normal clothes.”
“This is a medical issue, but mostly it’s a cultural issue. It’s a social issue and an emotional issue and a family dynamic issue and a community issue. Maybe we need to medically intervene so Poppy doesn’t grow a beard. Or maybe the world needs to learn to love a person with a beard who goes by ‘she’ and wears a skirt.”
“You never know. You only guess. This is how it always is. You have to make these huge decisions on behalf of your kid, this tiny human whose fate and future is entirely in your hands. Who trusts you to know what's good and right and then to be able to make that happen. You never have enough information. You don't get to see the future. And if you screw up - if with your incomplete contradictory information you make the wrong call - nothing less than your child's entire future and happiness is at stake. It's impossible. It's heartbreaking. It's maddening."Ain't it the truth. When I was growing up, my father would always stress that there was no greater responsibility in the world than parenting. I think it was his way of relaying why he was so equally anxious and strict with me. But now that I am a parent, I get it. I understand it ten times over. I'm living it. Keeping a vulnerable and dependent human alive, emotionally and physically healthy, and safe from themselves and others will have the most confident person shaking in their boots.
“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.”
“There are few children more treasured than ill-behaved ones who belong to someone else.”
“parenting always involves this balance between what you know, what you guess, what you fear, and what you imagine.”
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This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.There are many enjoyable and certainly well presented elements in the book, which kept me reading most of it. I would say around 80%. Everyone who reads this book will be unable to not feel compassion and empathy for a little boy with an identity crisis and the pain of the family in their struggle to protect him. The wit was fantastic. The characters were all true to self and lovable within the context. I really enjoyed K, the medic in Thailand, and the super perfect dad. I felt immensely sorry for the family in their struggle to survive in their social environment.
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.
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.