What a beautiful month of reading, I hope you all enjoyed the books this month. It is hard to believe that we have almost finished this year’s book club it seems that this year is passing by in the blink of an eye.
Let’s discuss this months reading, shall we….
This book was part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club Hello Sunshine Book Club and how lucky were we for this suggestion.
This book is one of the most amazing books I have ever had the joy to read, the way this book is written is wonderful. Laurie Frankel has a way of leaving you feeling raw and open, I felt so sad to finish this book and would love to read more about the characters in the future.
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.
When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it’s another baby boy. But at least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect.
But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Rosie and Penn aren’t panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But 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 way 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.
Rosie: A perfectly written mother figure that I related with so much. Her values, her concerns, her self-doubts as a mother, the blame she places upon herself for the outcomes of her children is incredibly relatable. I found myself connecting to her character so much so that was able to evaluate my own personal motherly blame and concern towards issues that I cannot change and aren’t truly responsible for. I feel for Rosie so much in this book, what an amazing job she does at handling such a complex scenario with your youngest child.
Penn: Such a romantically written character, his beautiful concern for his family, his wonderful storytelling and his unending love for Rosie. Penn is the sort of character that you dream about meeting in real life, I truly loved every aspect of him and will miss his character now that I have finished the book.
Claude / Poppy: What an amazing child, I could felt enamoured with Claude’s bravery and determination to be the child he knew deep down he was. Poppy was a beautiful character, when the secret came out I felt her pain, I felt her shock and terror. This character intertwined between two separate amazing characters, I would love to read more about her future and how her life changes as she grows up.
The brothers: So brave and protective of Claude/Poppy but then so independent and flawed and sweet and young. I was reminded a lot of my own family dynamics growing up as the eldest of 4 girls when reading about the brothers. I remember that crazy energy and the frenetic pace of our house driven by so many people talking, eating and playing at the same time. Each an interesting character in their own rights, I loved when the boys interacted.
This book had such strong and interesting themes of family, balancing work and home life, transgender children, violence, LGBTQ, family dynamics, sexism and so many others.
The daunting thought of a child knowing that they were transgender and grappling with challenges that life will bring to them. I cried a lot when reading this book, the struggles that this poor child will have to go through in life, the possible judgement, fear and rejection they will receive purely for being born in the wrong body is just something so confronting to read as a parent.
I love this book more than anything I have read in a long time and I think it was my favourite suggestion from the #HelloSunshineBookClub reading list this year. I cried a lot through this book and I would love to know more about poppy’s life in the future and what she plans to do. I could imagine her becoming an advocate for transgender children and using the book her father wrote to help others. This book truly spoke to me and will stay with me for a while, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great read that you can get lost in.
Book Review Questions
Did you think of Rosie and Penn’s decision to allow Claude to start wearing dresses around the house?
Do you think Carmie might have been pushing things a little when she bought Claude the bikini?
If you where in Rosie and Penn’s shoes what would you have done, would you have moved the whole family?
Do you think Ru was correctly punished for his history assignment?
Would you have kept Poppy’s secret like the family did when starting fresh?
Do you think Penn was pushing Poppy to accept herself as a girl too quickly?
Was the family too accepting of the change, did they make it harder for Poppy by not questioning her choice?
Was Rosie right in taking Poppy away with her?
What did you think of Grumwald and Princess Stephanie?
If you were in the same situation do you think you would make the same choices?
My book review for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine should be posted soon.
Did you enjoy this month reading?
Leave me a comment below letting me know your favourite part.