This Is How It Always Is - Laurie Frankel
Rosie and Penn have 5 boys, until their youngest child, Claude, reveals that he wants to be a girl. While his parents and brothers are all as supportive as they can be, they know it won't be as easy for the rest of the world to accept him. They all struggle with how to handle the changes, how to advise Claude, how much is going to be accepted. Is this the whim of a small child or something deeper? Does he just like dresses or is he really a girl inside? Rosie asks herself so many questions though all she really wants to do is protect her child.
As Claude grows from toddler to young boy, from Claude to becoming Poppy, the book deals with the different stages he and the family go through. Their own understanding and acceptance as well as dealing with school, friends and the rest of the outside world. The other boys are also growing meanwhile, with their own needs for attention.
I liked the idea for the story but at the beginning of the book I found it all a bit too light and easy. It read a bit like a love story, with Rosie and Penn knowing even before they met, that this would be the one. I felt it difficult to relate to people who just know things, know their own minds so easily. Are there really people like that? That passed quite quickly though, once getting into the main part of the story it stopped being so simplified.
I found the descriptions of the markets and countryside in Thailand really brought it to life. I didn't find Bangkok quite as dirty and hectic as described but I can imagine it depends which sections you're in. Overall I really enjoyed the book though I thought it was a bit longer than necessary.
Make yourself a Thai Red Daiquiri to sip while you read. Muddle a few cubes of red pepper in a shaker and then add 2 shots of rum, 1/2 shot each of lemon juice and coconut water, 3 thai basil leaves and a dash of sugar syrup. Shake them all with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of pepper.