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Becoming Nicole

The Transformation of an American Family

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.



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.

Praise for Becoming Nicole

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

“Fascinating and enlightening.”—Cheryl Strayed

“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.”The Washington Post

“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

“Extraordinary . . . a wonderful and inspiring story.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A downright necessary book—and a remarkable act of generosity by the Maines family.”BuzzFeed

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 14, 2015 – This poignant account of a transgender girl's transition offers a heartfelt snapshot of a family whose only objective is to protect their daughter. Tackling the subject from a biological, social, and psychological viewpoint, Pulitzer-winning reporter Nutt (Shadows Bright as Glass) weaves complex elements of what being transgender means into a compelling narrative about a young woman who has identified as female since early childhood. Her middle-class family in rural Maine struggle to navigate the American education, legal, and medical systems in order for their daughter to "become Nicole." Tensions around a court case involving the designation of male and female bathrooms, Nicole's evolving relationship with her father, and the family's conflict between privacy and advocacy advance the story. Writing in a very journalistic tone, Nutt succeeds in placing Nicole's individual story within the more general narrative of transgender rights in the United States and humanizes the issues currently at play.

Customer Reviews

An uneducated teacher trying to inform the wrong lessons

I feel like this book is trying to educate people of transgender topics and stay along a storyline of a child's experience at the same time, but I don't think the two goals mix together well. First of all, this book is full of facts straight out of Wikipedia- if I wanted textbook definitions of transsexuals, I'd use google. Secondly, the author constantly switches pronouns and uses wrong terminology. For example, they will use male pronouns when describing a female transgender individual and switch back to female pronouns all in the same sentence. It's almost as if the author is confused about the subject even though they're trying to educate others. This book is confused on what it wants to achieve and it shows. I just hope people don't consider it a good source of information.


This is one of the best books I have ever read. Even as a cisgender person, this book is an inspiring, beautiful story that encourages me to be myself regardless of the opinions of others. A must-read.


Would do 0 stars but whata gonna do with the LGBT brainwashing

Becoming Nicole
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 20, 2015
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings