PR for People® Reviews:
This Is How It Always Is – Laurie Frankel
Flatiron Books – 332 pp - $25.99
So let’s talk about risk. Is it something you take on, like skydiving? Or something you fend off, with mutual funds and homeowner’s insurance?
Life – let’s face it – is a risky proposition. But it’s riskier for some people than it is for others.
Take the transgender population. According to an analysis that drew on data from the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Williams Institute at UCLA estimated last year that the number of transgender adults in the United States could be twice as many as originally thought – perhaps 1.4 million adults identify with a gender that is not the sex of their birth.
But as we’ve seen in the news, one person’s reality can be another person’s upset. So while schools, statehouses, workplaces, and the military increasingly are asked to grapple with questions of transgender rights, novelist Laurie Frankel writes about what she knows in her new book, “This Is How It Always Is.”
Frankel creates the fictional Walsh-Adams family to explore the fears that consume the adults in the family when they realize that their little boy wants to be a girl when he grows up. They’ve heard horror stories about violence against transgender individuals.
One of their mechanisms for coping with the censure and uncertainty is to concoct fairy tales to offer moral support – and frankly, this conceit wears thin as the story moves on.
But Frankel, whose own child is transgender, writes from the heart. She knows how self-doubt, fierce love and fatigue all factor into parents’ advocacy for their transgender child. She has come to understand that definitions and – from some quarters – damnations ultimately aren’t as important as assisting the child you love to reach his – her – their potential.
“This Is How It Always Is” begins with the consideration of risk, and leads to revelation. This book is worth reading.
Barbara Lloyd McMichael is our ground reporter in South King County, Wash., and author of the syndicated book review column “The Bookmonger.” Her PR for People® Book Review is written exclusively for The Connector.