Rosie desperately wants a girl. She’s wanted one ever since she played make believe with her sister who tragically died when she was young. Rosie longs to name a child “Poppy” after her sister. In a house overrun by four young boys and a stay at home writer dad, Rosie needs some female companionship.

With the birth of their fifth child, Rosie’s dreams slowly come true, but in a way none of them expected. Indeed, Claude comes out with male genitalia and the dream of having a girl is crushed. That is, until Claude starts to wear dresses around the house and insist on going by Poppy. While the family is supportive of what they at first think of as a phase, the rest of the world isn’t so kind.

Yes, the story is entertaining if not a little deus ex machina in end, but the real value comes from the great husband and wife dialog and the uncomfortable and all too real situations they find themselves in. The novel makes you consider the intricacies of having a possibly-possibly not male to female small child with gender dysphoria. Would you tell other parents? What about their friends? What would the school says? Who would you allow to play with your child? Is protection and complete shielding from the harshness of life and outside reality a good idea? All these thoughts and more rolled around in my head as I read.

I only have one friend who is trans but I know the length that outsiders go to cause him pain. In restaurants, walking in public, and just living his life in general he is accosted with angry rants and people out to cause him pain for no reason other than his existing in their presence. The rate of violence against those who are trans and the rate of suicide for that same group is exponentially higher than other groups. This is an important book whether you want children or not that provides empathy and understanding of serious and complex issues that you may never face.

DPL_Graham's rating:
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