Becoming. Finished 2-23-19, rating 5/5, memoir, 421 pages, pub. 2018
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.
Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same. from Goodreads
What can I say that hasn’t already been gushed over by countless others? Michelle Obama was a normal, yet accomplished young woman with a lucrative career and two Ivy League degrees when she was introduced to a hot shot intern who would change her life forever. She is real and warm and selfless in so many ways. I always respected her strength as first lady and was happily surprised to have her exceed any expectation I placed on her.
Michelle grew up in a South Side Chicago neighborhood in the upstairs of a house that her parents didn’t own, even sharing a bedroom with her older brother until the teen years. She watched as her once diverse neighborhood became segregated and she was forced to travel over two hours on city buses each day to reach a school that could provide a good education. She went off to Princeton and Harvard and said this “This is what a control freak learns inside the compressed otherworld of college, maybe above all else: There are simply other ways of being.” She moved back home after college and buried her father. She received a hilarious proposal from that hot shot intern and thus became part of the political machine that she never really wanted or participated much in until Barack wanted to run for President and even then there was this, “Barack was a black man in America, after all. I didn’t really think he could win.” But even before his momentous run she was essentially a single working mom of two during the week while Barack worked in the State Legislature.
Apparently I’ve found a lot to say, haha, but I want to make sure I mention the one thing I loved most about this book. I loved getting an honest, inside look at the Obama marriage. They are both fiercely independent people with unquestionable love and respect for each other. She humanizes Barack in a way that no one else can, and that isn’t to say he’s put on any pedestal. And although this covers their years in the White House it rarely becomes political.
I was a fan before and I’m even a bigger fan now.