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Becoming Nicole

The Transformation of an American Family
Narrated by: Amy Ellis Nutt
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (508 ratings)
Regular price: $24.50
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

The inspiring true story of transgender actor and activist Nicole Maines, whose identical twin brother, Jonas, and ordinary American family join her on an extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.

Nicole appears as TV’s first transgender superhero on CW’s Supergirl

When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, they thought their lives were complete. But by the time Jonas and Wyatt 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 Wyatt’s transition to Nicole, and to undergo a wrenching transformation of their own, the effects of which would reverberate through their entire community. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Ellis Nutt spent almost four years reporting this story and tells it with unflinching honesty, intimacy, and empathy. In her hands, Becoming Nicole is more than an account of a courageous girl and her extraordinary family. It’s a powerful portrait of a slowly but surely changing nation, and one that will inspire all of us to see the world with a little more humanity and understanding.

Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by People

One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and Men’s Journal

A Stonewall Honor Book in Nonfiction

Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction

“Fascinating and enlightening.” (Cheryl Strayed)

“If you aren’t moved by Becoming Nicole, I’d suggest there’s a lump of dark matter where your heart should be.” (The New York Times)

“Exceptional... ‘Stories move the walls that need to be moved,’ Nicole told her father last year. In telling Nicole’s story and those of her brother and parents luminously, and with great compassion and intelligence, that is exactly what Amy Ellis Nutt has done here.” (The Washington Post)

“A profoundly moving true story about one remarkable family’s evolution.” (People)

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.” (Jennifer Finney Boylan, former co-chair of GLAAD and author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders)

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

Critic Reviews

“Fascinating and enlightening.” (Cheryl Strayed)

“Reading strictly for plot, Becoming Nicole is about a transgender girl who triumphed in a landmark discrimination case.... But the real movement in this book happens internally, in the back caverns of each family member’s heart and mind. Four ordinary and imperfect human beings had to reckon with an exceptional situation, and in so doing also became, in their own modest ways, exceptional.... If you aren’t moved by Becoming Nicole, I’d suggest there’s a lump of dark matter where your heart should be.” (Jennifer Senior, The New York Times)

“Exceptional... ‘Stories move the walls that need to be moved,’ Nicole told her father last year. In telling Nicole’s story and those of her brother and parents luminously, and with great compassion and intelligence, that is exactly what Amy Ellis Nutt has done here.” (The Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Patricia
  • Redding, CA, United States
  • 06-21-16

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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Very helpful and inspiring

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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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  • Connie
  • DURHAM, NC, United States
  • 01-15-16

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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Oh my goodness!

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I myself am transgender, and listening to how this family grew with having a transgender daughter was eye opening. The truth is, being transgender is so very hard and it seems that there will always be people who are against you. But by persevering through the negativity and the muck, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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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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  • Sharon
  • 02-06-19

Interesting story

This was an interesting book about a topic that fascinates me, It was told in quite a journalistic style, which is not surprising since Amy Ellis Nut is a journalist. It told a story, and gave some interesting facts, and told us what people were feeling. This book doesn't really deeply explore those feeling though, it focusses on actions. While i enjoyed it, and am glad i listened to it, I thought This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel covered similar ground in a more engaging manner. That said, I think Nutt does what she set out to do, and did it in a competent way.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-18-18

Awesome book, couldn't wait to find time to listen

So interesting, loved this transgender story, an amazing family willing to take on the authorities to help their kids & others like them!

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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.