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"The Maines were a middle-class, hard-working, politically conservative New England couple whose lives felt complete when they adopted identical twin sons. As toddlers, Jonas was the son Kelly and Wayne Maines expected, but Wyatt was only interested in girls' clothes and toys. By age five, this conflict was tearing Wyatt--and the family--apart. Today, Wyatt is Nicole. She and Jonas are now graduating from high school. This is the story of a journey that could have destroyed a family, but instead united them"--
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MEN’S JOURNAL • A STONEWALL HONOR BOOK IN NONFICTION • FINALIST FOR THE LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FOR TRANSGENDER NONFICTION 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.
'Becoming Nicole is a powerful and illuminating book about one couple's journey in coming to accept and nurture their transgender daughter. It's a page turner and a heart opener. I couldn't recommend it more highly.' Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild 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 dressing 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. Becoming Nicole is the heart-wrenching story of a mother whose instincts told her that her child needed love and not disapproval; of a conservative, army-veteran father who overcame his deepest fears to embrace his new daughter; of a loving brother who never gave up supporting his twin sister; and of a town forced to confront its own prejudices. More than that, however, Becoming Nicole is the story of an extraordinary girl who fought for the right to be herself.
On a sunny fall afternoon in 1988, Jon Sarkin was playing golf when, without a whisper of warning, his life changed forever. As he bent down to pick up his golf ball, something strange and massive happened inside his head; part of his brain seemed to unhinge, to split apart and float away. For an utterly inexplicable reason, a tiny blood vessel, thin as a thread, deep inside the folds of his gray matter had suddenly shifted ever so slightly, rubbing up against his acoustic nerve. Any noise now caused him excruciating pain. After months of seeking treatment to no avail, in desperation Sarkin resorted to radical deep-brain surgery, which seemed to go well until during recovery his brain began to bleed and he suffered a major stroke. When he awoke, he was a different man. Before the stroke, he was a calm, disciplined chiropractor, a happily married husband and father of a newborn son. Now he was transformed into a volatile and wildly exuberant obsessive, seized by a manic desire to create art, devoting virtually all his waking hours to furiously drawing, painting, and writing poems and letters to himself, strangely detached from his wife and child, and unable to return to his normal working life. His sense of self had been shattered, his intellect intact but his way of being drastically altered. His art became a relentless quest for the right words and pictures to unlock the secrets of how to live this strange new life. And what was even stranger was that he remembered his former self. In a beautifully crafted narrative, award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Ellis Nutt interweaves Sarkin’s remarkable story with a fascinating tour of the history of and latest findings in neuroscience and evolution that illuminate how the brain produces, from its web of billions of neurons and chaos of liquid electrical pulses, the richness of human experience that makes us who we are. Nutt brings vividly to life pivotal moments of discovery in neuroscience, from the shocking “rebirth” of a young girl hanged in 1650 to the first autopsy of an autistic savant’s brain, and the extraordinary true stories of people whose personalities and cognitive abilities were dramatically altered by brain trauma, often in shocking ways. Probing recent revelations about the workings of creativity in the brain and the role of art in the evolution of human intelligence, she reveals how Jon Sarkin’s obsessive need to create mirrors the earliest function of art in the brain. Introducing major findings about how our sense of self transcends the bounds of our own bodies, she explores how it is that the brain generates an individual “self” and how, if damage to our brains can so alter who we are, we can nonetheless be said to have a soul. For Jon Sarkin, with his personality and sense of self permanently altered, making art became his bridge back to life, a means of reassembling from the shards of his former self a new man who could rejoin his family and fashion a viable life. He is now an acclaimed artist who exhibits at some of the country’s most prestigious venues, as well as a devoted husband to his wife, Kim, and father to their three children. At once wrenching and inspiring, this is a story of the remarkable human capacity to overcome the most daunting obstacles and of the extraordinary workings of the human mind.
They say that whoever you are it's okay, you were born that way. Those words don't comfort Emily, because she was born Christopher and her insides know that her outsides are all wrong. They say that it gets better, be who you are and it'll be fine. For Emily, telling her parents who she really is means a therapist who insists Christopher is normal and Emily is sick. Telling her girlfriend means lectures about how God doesn't make that kind of mistake. Emily desperately wants high school in her small Minnesota town to get better. She wants to be the woman she knows is inside, but it's not until a substitute therapist and a girl named Natalie come into her life that she believes she has a chance of actually Being Emily. A story for anyone who has ever felt that the inside and outside don't match and no one else will understand... "Powerful and empowering, with an optimistic message that we all need more of in our lives. I'm thrilled to see this book is out in the world."—Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw and A Queer and Pleasant Danger
A remarkable memoir that tells the story of a person who changed genders chronicles the life of James, a critically acclaimed novelist, who eventually became Jenny, a happy and successful English professor.
Jane Re is a Korean-American orphan, and Queens is her home. Jane toils in her Uncle's grocery store, desperate for an escape. When she lands a job as an au pair for the Mazer-Farleys - Brooklyn English professors with an adopted Chinese daughter - Jane is thrilled. Introduced into a whole new life that's worlds apart from the traditional Korean community she knows, she finds herself surrounded by organic food co-ops and 19th-Century novels. An original, contemporary recasting of Jane Eyre, Re Jane is a funny, moving novel about being true to yourself.
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