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Becoming Nicole: The inspiring story of transgender actor-activist Nicole Maines and her extraordinary family Paperback – June 7, 2016
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“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
“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. 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, former co-chair of GLAAD and author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders
“[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.”—The 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.”—Time
“Extraordinary . . . a wonderful and inspiring story.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A downright necessary book—and a remarkable act of generosity by the Maines family—that will surely start hundreds of conversations in living rooms across the country about what ‘transgender’ means. But it’s also a deeply universal book, one that hits the heart of what it means for all of us, no matter how we struggle (or not) to identify, to be ourselves.”—BuzzFeed
“Gorgeous . . . a really wonderful story.”—NBC New York
About the Author
- Publisher : Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812995430
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812995435
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.16 x 0.65 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Two things in this book really struck me. First, I think it’s easy to view those who actively defend LGBTQ rights as crusaders and zealots. The truth is that they are a patchwork of people who – by and large – have been forced to examine their own viewpoints and carefully consider the status quo when it comes to opportunities for and treatment of the LGBT community. Many have not done this simply because it interested them, but because they were faced with the reality of being or loving someone who does not conform to the rigid gender norms that have been laid out for us culturally. Though I have long identified as someone on the left of the political spectrum, I struggled mightily when my child began identifying as the opposite gender, and it has been a continual learning process. And while Nicole’s father Wayne and I began on opposing ends of the political spectrum, I identified with him in so many ways throughout this book, and his journey felt very familiar to me. I am immensely thankful to books like this and the plethora of organizations and media attention this issue has garnered over the past 5-10 years, as they are truly invaluable to families like ours trying to better understand our children and learn how to stand up for them at school and in society.
Second, I am continually amazed by children and their unquestioning acceptance of people who differ than them, but at the same time saddened and frustrated by some groups’ stubborn insistence on labeling transgender individuals as sexual deviants. This abominable behavior was on full display throughout the second half of this book and I find it infuriating. As a reminder, these are children we are talking about – many as young as 3, 5, 7, 10 years old. They are not predators. They are not a danger to others. They are children and they deserve to be loved and cherished. Please stand up against the perversion of religion to preach hate about children – the day that is achieved cannot come fast enough.
I am very lucky to have a partner in my life similar to Nicole’s mom Kelly, who has strongly supported my child every step of the way, and was a rock before I could be. They once said to me “Just think: this experience will make us stronger, will make us better.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Ellis Nutt pulls no punches in describing the struggle of Maines' father to come to terms with his daughter being transgender, making him a very human and relatable character. And the family's sacrifices when it came to making sure both Nicole and her identical twin brother Jonas were happy and safe are staggering, and demonstrate the length parents will go to in order to protect their children, even, in their father Wayne's case, when he wasn't entirely sure he was able to accept Nicole's transition.
The book, however, isn't solely about Maines' journey to actress and activist. Ellis Nutt also includes an extensive amount of research and science regarding transgender individuals, legal history, and ongoing politics surrounding the transgender community. I'd challenge anyone who thinks it's a choice to read this book and still feel the same way.
Where I struggled with the book was with the portion leading up to Nicole's legal name change. While it is understandable that a story that begins with her birth would, by necessity, have to contain her dead name, it was difficult getting through sections where she had already asserted herself as female, and she was dressing and presenting as female, but the author continued to use male pronouns. It creates a dissonance that's very distracting as a reader, but that may just have been a personal issue, and as I am not transgender, I can't speak to that aspect other than my own experience.
Overall, however, this is an excellent book, and does a fantastic job walking readers through all aspects of Nicole's experience, both personally and politically.
Top reviews from other countries
The participation and courage of the family in sharing this part of their lives so intimately with the author is also commendable and it is an interesting and enlightening story but I wish the story was told more from the voices of the family and not the author. The author’s viewpoint had the tendency to become tedious (for lack of a better word) at times and I am sure the firsthand experiences of the family members would have been far more interesting.
Sono intatti, conservati bene ed erano ben impacchettati.
Sinceramente non ho ancora letto "Becoming Nicole", ma adoro già Nicole Maines, che interpreterà la prima eroina transgender dell'Arrowverse. Ho letto la sua storia a grandi linee e penso che tutto dovrebbero dare un'occhiata e conoscere meglio questa ragazza