Meredith so generously offered to let me write this review since I have
gushed like a teenager consumed with her first crush raved about this book incessantly! This book just “got me” (to keep the embarrassing comparison going) and even though I’ve not dealt with the particular issue this family dealt with, I sense that I probably would have felt and done a lot of the same things.
Oh, did I not mention the name of this book?? It is This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel and while I feel like no one can ever remember this title (I may have told a few hundred people about it), it is definitely far better than her original title, And. Can you imagine googling that?? I’ll get back to the title in a minute, but in case you haven’t read this book (GET ON IT!), it is about a family that tries to protect one of it’s own and ends up keeping a very large, very life altering secret.
What struck me most about this book were the parents, Rosie and Penn. I could not count the amount of times I nodded “YES!” to some of the parenting dilemmas they faced. I particularly loved when Rosie or Penn would think about where a particular problem or issue with one of their kids would fall on the “list”. For example, my son hasn’t been wearing deodorant for a week, but, honestly, that’s 10th on the list this morning of stuff I’m worried about or dealing with in relation to my kids. So while I may think about it, I might not say anything. Or I may say something in passing, but not follow up. Does this make sense? Because this was so on target with me, that I felt a true relief reading it.
And then there was Penn’s gorgeous attempt at explaining all the fun that is parenting (I may frame this and hang it in my bathroom for reference and reassurance). It is also where the title of the book comes from.
“‘When was the last time something was bothering one of the kids or he was acting strange or he wasn’t sleeping or doing well in math or sharing nicely during free-choice time, and we knew why?’
‘Knew why?’ Rosie said.
‘Knew why. Absolutely knew what was wrong and what should be done to fix it and how to make that happen.’
‘As a parent?’
‘As a parent.’
‘Never,’ Penn agreed. ‘ Not ever. Not once. 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, well, nothing less than your child’s entire future and happiness is at stake. It’s impossible. It’s heartbreaking. It’s maddening. But there’s no alternative.’”
PREACH!!! This is why I’m in therapy, people!
I found the growth of both the parents and Poppy to be realistic and inspiring. Near the end, Rosie, who, to me, seemed to have the hardest time, presented this sweet, little nugget to her daughter. And frankly, I think we all can benefit from it! Poppy (Claude) starts …
“‘There are only two choices, and they aren’t even choices, at least not ones you get to choose. If you only tell some of the truth, that’s a lie. If only one tiny stupid part of you is a boy, you can never be a girl.’
‘All of that seems true. It does.’ His mother reached across the water and took his hands. ‘But it’s not. I think the middle way is right.’
‘Because it’s invisible.’
‘Like in a fairy tale?’
‘No,’ his mother said to the fish, then looked up at him. ‘Actually, yes, sort of like a fairy tale. There’s a fork in the road. It seems like there are only two choices. It seems like the task is to figure out which way to go, left or right, forward or back, deeper or safer, but in fact any of those choices is easy compared to the real trick. The real trick is you have to forge your way straight ahead through the trees where there is no path.'”
I could talk all day about this book! I would love to know your thoughts and feelings!
Did you feel it was realistic?
What about the therapist, Mr. Tongo?! (Meredith and I adored him!)
Do you think moving across the country was the right decision?
What about Thailand? (I was afraid I was going to hate it, but then actually loved it.)
The ending was tied up fairly neat and tidy- did you like that? Or would you have preferred something different?
Now is the time I wish we were all able to sit in a big room and discuss!! But, alas!, at least we have the internet.
So even though I feel I will never read a book as fantastic as This Is How It Always Is again (#drama), we are running a book club here! I thought it would be best to completely switch it up. I went on the hunt for a page-turning thriller. What better way to throw ourselves into summer? And maybe if I’m consumed with a book, I’ll forget that I have to wear a bathing suit soon.
Our next pick is …
I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.
As always, we are giving away a copy to one of our readers here. Enter by leaving a comment on this blog post or Meredith’s Mom of the Year blog before 5/12/17 at 5:30am EST. As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental United States, you are eligible to win!
*Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing copies!!*
Grab a copy HERE and read with us! We always love hearing your thoughts!! Happy Reading!!