Becoming Nicole: The Transformation
of an American Family
by Amy Ellis Nutt
Random House. 279 pages, $27.
WHEN Wayne and Kelly Maines adopt twin sons, Jonas and Wyatt, it’s as if the American Dream has fallen into their laps. Kelly is eager for motherhood, while Wayne, a sporty outdoorsman, now has two boys to hunt and roughhouse with. Jonas and Wyatt are inseparable, but Wyatt gravitates toward Barbies and all things pink in addition to romping with his brother. When he confesses to his dad—at all of two years old—that he hates his penis, the family realizes this is not a phase that will eventually pass. (Note: None of the Maines family used female pronouns until the twins were in fifth grade and Wyatt legally changed her name to Nicole. The book follows that timeline, as does this review, which additionally hews to the language used in the book, e.g. reassignment versus confirmation surgery, etc.)