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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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Extraordinary story, very poor narration.

The story of Nicole Mains is amazing and heartening, certainly worth reading and sharing. I would absolutely recommend the written book rather than the audio version as the author is a very poor narrator and the awkwardness of her reading prevented me from becoming truly engaged.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Nicole

struggled to finish. too long. too strung out. quite informative. good info to spread. amen

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bogged down and shallow

I’m not at all impressed with this book. While I understand that it’s based on a true story, it gets bogged down in the legal battle the characters faced and did very little to discuss the development of the people overall. Reading (listening to) this book, one would think the transgender battle is solely about the right to use the bathroom corresponding to one’s preferred gender. The author really did nothing to understand or help the reader understand the characters. Also, her facts are a little off. For example, she claims that Winx Club was a show Wyatt watched on Nickelodeon as a young child, but Nickelodeon didn’t obtain the rights to the show until 2011 and Wyatt would’ve been teenage Nicole by then. This is the most minor of factual errors. Also, some of her anecdotal claims seem unreal. I’m not saying they’re false since I wasn’t there, but the conversations she claims these children had don’t seem like things children would say... maybe teens but not young children.

Overall, it just seemed like a shallow rehashing of a legal case based on public records. It’s bad storytelling and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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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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  • Brendan
  • 08-03-17

Informative and Moving.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would like to see a more direct introduction to how the story would progress. I was quite lost in regards to what was going on for the first few chapters.

What did you like best about this story?

I felt it covered an incredible amount of information succinctly, all while developing a deep relationship and attachment to the characters.

Did Becoming Nicole inspire you to do anything?

I was deeply moved by the story presented and have incorporated additional audiobooks and reading material to learn more about gender diversity.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I had a little trouble getting into this audiobook, however, I did find that after a short period I had developed an interest not only in the character development but the additional tidbits of information throughout. As mentioned I finished this book and found it to be deeply moving and inspiring. I would recommend it to others.

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  • Dee
  • 10-30-15

Typical.

This is a typical biography of a transsexual person by a cissexual person. It's made to be all about Nicole's cis family. Nicole is misgendered hundreds of times.