What a story, what a life!
I listened to this book on Audible over several months. I really took my time to digest Michelle Obama’s life spoken in her own words and in her own voice.
This woman is exceptional. She truly is sensational. Our world is a better place because of her – and I don’t say that lightly.
“Becoming” is a book that must be experienced by every single person reading this review right now.
On Thursday 2nd April 2009, I was a pupil at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) School and was fortunate enough to be one of those present to welcome Mrs Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States of America, and wife of the 44th President of the United States, to our school. That was over a decade ago. I remember being utterly starstruck by this woman. She carries such presence; it’s indescribable.
After performances and presentations; solo and collective efforts by my fellow pupils, Michelle Obama graced the stage. She warmly greeted us all with a kind and affectionate smile and she took her place in front of the assembly. And then she began. So very eloquently and gracefully, she spoke of her upbringing as Michelle Robinson. How nothing in her upbringing pre-disposed – or even prepared her – for the role she held today: First Lady. She shared with us the reality and struggles of growing up in a working class family in a not-so-special neighborhood. So many of her experiences were not unlike the majority of our own in that room. It’s what connected us.
The essence of her speech was that, she and her husband, saw areas for improvement in their world. From the things they saw society struggle with like: accessible healthcare, terrorism, the economy and climate change. Things that needed to change and they were were willing agents to affect change for better in the best way they could.
She said she saw herself in us. There were hundreds of girls who sat in that room that afternoon, taking it all in, and it was profound. She told us that we can be great and impactful to affect change in our communities and the world. This particular line will always stay with me, “You are the women who will build the world as it should be.”
It was inspirational.
Reading Michelle Obama’s book felt like a dissection of the summary she had presented to us when she came to visit EGA in 2009.
It is a true life autobiography. Everything is covered from her earliest memories to leaving the White House after President Obama’s two terms.
It is split into three sections:
- Becoming Me – growing up in Chicago to becoming a lawyer and meeting and subsequently dating Barack Obama
- Becoming Us – getting married and beginning a family with her husband and the start of his political career
- Becoming More – life as First Lady
“Becoming” is easy to follow and to pick up and put down whenever, and still be able to get into the story again.
I like the book because it provides insight into aspects of her life that you just wouldn’t know. Naturally, the spotlight has been on her husband, and by no surprise at all since he was the president! But what struck me in reading her story was how supportive Mrs Obama was in her husband’s journey to presidency. And I don’t mean encouragement by way of words – not to diminish words of affirmation at all – but Michelle Obama was doing field work. She campaigned on behalf of her husband all over the States. While her husband was showing up in some state or the other, Michelle Obama was bringing up the rear by representing him in other places. She was truly his ambassador.
She shares sensitive stories like her infertility issues and her dislike of politics yet choosing to support her husband. Michelle writes transparently about leaving her high flying job as a lawyer, dating Barack, losing her father. She speaks of raising her children and the invaluable support system she had from her mother and close female friends.
It’s a big book. It’s a long book. But it’s a good book. I certainly recommend “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. 5 out of 5 stars.
Oh, and Michelle Obama inspired me to watch Hamilton in theatre, she loves the production and has seen it multiple times! I’ll be seeing it in a couple of months and am sooo very excited. Watch this space for a review 🙂