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Extended Audio Sample Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amy Ellis Nutt Narrator: Amy Ellis Nut Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

Granted wide-ranging access to personal diaries, home videos, clinical journals, legal documents, medical records, and the Maineses themselves, Amy Ellis Nutt spent almost four years reporting this immersive account of an American family confronting an issue that is at the center of today’s cultural debate. Becoming Nicole will resonate with anyone who’s ever raised a child, felt at odds with society’s conventions and norms, or had to embrace life when it plays out unexpectedly. It’s a story of standing up for your beliefs and yourself—and it will inspire all of us to do the same.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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.”

    New York Times

  • “[Becoming Nicole] generously traces the parameters of parental love…delving deep into the case of a single family with a transgender child and discovering in its particulars certain universal truths about the ways children arrive in one’s life already themselves.”

    New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

  • “A transgender girl’s coming-of-age saga, an exploration of the budding science of gender identity, a civil rights time capsule, a tear-jerking legal drama and perhaps, most of all, an education about what can happen when a child doesn’t turn out as his or her parents expected—and they’re forced to either shut their eyes and hearts or see everything differently.”


  • 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

  • “Gripping…a timely, significant examination.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for October 2015
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for Biographies & Memoirs
  • A 2015 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A People Magazine Best Book of 2015
  • A 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Award Finalist
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