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Summary

The inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family's extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter for The Washington Post.

When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, they thought their lives were complete. But it wasn't long before they noticed a marked difference between Jonas and his brother, Wyatt. Jonas preferred sports and trucks and many of the things little boys were "supposed" to like; but Wyatt liked princess dolls and dress-up and playing Little Mermaid. By the time the twins were toddlers, confusion over Wyatt's insistence that he was female began to tear the family apart. In the years that followed, the Maineses came to question their long-held views on gender and identity, to accept and embrace Wyatt's transition to Nicole, and to undergo an emotionally wrenching transformation of their own that would change all their lives forever.

Becoming Nicole chronicles a journey that could have destroyed a family but instead brought it closer together. It's the story of a mother whose instincts told her that her child needed love and acceptance, not ostracism and disapproval; of a Republican air force veteran father who overcame his deepest fears to become a vocal advocate for trans rights; of a loving brother who bravely stuck up for his twin sister; and of a town forced to confront its prejudices, a school compelled to rewrite its rules, and a courageous community of transgender activists determined to make their voices heard. Ultimately, Becoming Nicole is the story of an extraordinary girl who fought for the right to be herself.

©2015 Amy Ellis Nutt (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

Becoming Nicole is a miracle. It's the story of a family struggling with - and embracing - a transgender child. But more than that, it's about accepting one another, and ourselves, in all our messy, contradictory glory. The Maines family is as American as they come. In the journey they take toward authenticity and justice, we see a model for the future of our country, a future in which all of us - mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters - somehow find the courage, and the love, to become our best selves." (Jennifer Finney Boylan, cochair of GLAAD and author of She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders)

What members say

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  • book worm
  • 22-10-15

More narratives like this, please.

Any additional comments?

One apprehensive mother starts her search on the internet, key words: little boy dresses up in girl clothes. What a roller coaster ride after that. This is Nicole's story, and her parents, less of what the impact was on her twin Jonas. Mesmerizing are the first few paragraphs of the book: little boy dances and watches himself dressed in fairy sparklies, reflected in the oven door. While his perplexed and frightened Dad pleads with him to "make a muscle". I am going to listen again, so much is troubling...one mother chastising the family for "giving up too soon", after the boy toddler is playing with girl toys, even poignantly wondering when his own "p*nis was going to fall off". Very well written and narrated by the author. I don't know that a man could have narrated this successfully. I hope we get additional, thorough narratives of what the people go through, those captured in a body that does not reflect what's going on inside. Thanks to the author, thanks to the family for opening the door to their lives.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-10-15

excellent story , poor narration

I will probably finish listening as the story is compelling but I feel the author is one of the poorest narrators I've heard. Sadly, her staccato , flat intonation interferes with the whole experience. the wish I'd purchased a printed version instead.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Patricia
  • 21-06-16

Great book - terrible narration

Well written, informative and heart-felt story. I wish they had hired a great narrator. The staccato, mono-tone reading was almost painful and I would have to stop listening at times. I struggled to finish the book and wished I had purchased the actual book so as to be spared the tortuous narration. A really good narrator would have made this book something one could not put down.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Levi
  • 04-11-15

Stunning

This book was not only beautiful but informative. I'm so thankful a book like this exists and will be recommending it at the book store where I work. Everyone should read this book!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Connie
  • 15-01-16

Quite interesting to me

Anybody who has a transgender person in their family or their group of friends or school should read this book. It will give you a lot to think about. I do wish the author had chosen a professional narrator. It was a bit hard to listen to her try to narrate it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lemuel G.
  • 13-11-15

Very helpful and inspiring

The book was wonderful, but the author should not have narrated it. Raspy, flat and nasal.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff and Tonya
  • 20-06-18

Fascinating

For what it is, this is a fascinating book using one family's journey to look at a broader issue currently being discussed anywhere discussions take place. It lacks knowledge, and thus presentation of the pertinant points, that government hurts transgender people as much as it helps them, but that doesn't overly detract from the overall tale told here. Highly recommended.

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  • Leah
  • 07-06-18

Not so much about Nicole..

If you enjoy scientific studies and law cases, this book is for you.
My thoughts are that the family isn't quite ready to tell the story of Nicole, or that this story was written too early. Before resolution takes place. I can't know how any of this feels, although I wonder if the science and court cases are so focused on in order to keep their hearts insulated from so much pain.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-05-18

great book

this book was very interesting and at times I couldn't stop listening to it. it was well presented.

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  • James
  • 27-02-18

Flat, Not Expected

The narration is not only flat as others have pointed out, but this compounds with the story taking constant turns towards rattling off facts about biology and sexuality. I was expecting a story about a family, perhaps their perspectives, more about them growing as people and less shallow backstories followed by their part in a political movement.

A few chapters I greatly enjoyed, but the narrator detracts from that enjoyment. Just a stiff, odd experience. Their lives come off as sterile, most people simply backdrops and no real point to any of it other than some interesting individual parts that are likely similar to other transgender coming out stories.

TLDR; Enjoyed learning about the family, wish the narration was a lot better, book ended without any real sense of catharsis, enjoyment or anything memorable.