Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

becoming-nicole

Amy Ellis Nutt: Becoming Nicole : The Transformation of an American Family (Hardcover); 2015 Edition

 

I didn’t used to be a kind of person who would normally read Non-Fiction.
Generally speaking, Non-Fiction books don’t move me emotionally as much as Fiction does and I like immersing myself completely in fictional worlds.

That being said though, this book, THIS BOOK. I have never, ever, been emotionally swept up and stirred by a Non-Fiction book. This book broke me, shattered me, and made me embarrassed and ashamed of myself at times – it was really disturbing (in a positive way, not a bad way) and enlightening. I am so, so glad that I picked up this book.

As you may already know, this is about a family one of their sons turned out to be a transgender.
At such a tender age of two, one of the twin boys, Wyatt started voicing his gender dysphoria toward his anatomy -in this context, his birth genitalia – and his parents, Kelly and Wayne set on a journey to get his voice heard and make a better world for Wyatt who later transforms into Nicole.

I think I can put it down to the book being written in third person as the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. I didn’t feel like reading a non-fiction at all and I think the narration is what filled the gap between Fiction and Non-Fiction that I would normally feel and made me emotionally attached the entire time.

The narration, the writing is so powerful and engaging; I even went so far as to stick post-its here and there whenever the book moved me, which I don’t normally do. It’s quite a rarity considering I was reading a Non-Fiction.

I was so frustrated and disgusted by the absurdity and obstinacy of people and the school system that stood against Nicole denying her basic human rights of just using the school bathroom which is congruent with her sexual identity.

She didn’t do anything wrong, she just wanted to be recognized and treated as a normal girl like everyone else. But just because of the fact she was born with a boy’s anatomy, despite the fact she identifies herself as a girl and acts just like a girl, she was silenced and denied access to the girl’s bathroom and urged to use the staff bathroom at school.

I just can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for Nicole not to be able to identify herself with her anatomy; her frustration gradually takes an emotionally toll on her, eating her away and making her pull out her eyelashes.
I just couldn’t help but put the book down and take a calming breath to let everything sink in. It was so poignant and disturbing, her emotional distress was acutely felt.

Would I have acted any differently had any of my friends in elementary school or junior high school actually been a trans?

Am I actually as sympathetic and accepting as much as I hope I am??

Throughout the book, I kept myself asking these questions.
Although I was so frustrated by all the treatments towards Nicole given by anti-gay or anti-transgender advocates, am I any different??

It was really thought-provoking and gave me a lot of food for thought.
Not only does this book tell you about the epic journey that Nicole and her family went through, it also teaches you an awful lot about sex, sex identity from biological and scienfic point of view. I am not big on scietific stuff at all, but the author did an amazing job in breaking them down into manageable bits to chew on.
It is very informative and so enlightening.

The book closes with a beautiful epilogue; it made the entire book for me.
The parents, particularly Nicole’s mother, Kelly, is wonderful. She has always stood up for her and protected her. Although it took some time for her father Wayne to do the same, it is totally understandable if you read what big expectations he had had when he knew he would have twin boys. What they achieved was pretty significant; they fought hard and literally set the precedence, blazing the trail not only for Nicole but for so many others who had to hide in the closet.

I am so glad that I picked up this book. This book was really eye-opening for me and made me more open to a perspective which is different from mine.

I’m sorry for my review on this book being a bit more spoilery than usual, but I just can’t help gushing about how strongly this book moved me.
More than anything, I strongly believe my review wouldn’t change your impression on this book in any way; None of the spoilers would make this book any less interesting.

I really, highly recommend everyone reads this book. I think it’s very important to read this given the time we’re currently living in, and I believe this book will resonate with you and teach you something that you didn’t even know.

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