Hello hello! If you’ve been following my blog, it might be evident that I’m trying to revamp it a bit and make some major changes. This includes writing about newer, more interesting, and more diverse topics. Today I wanted to write in detail all about one of my favorite books and that is “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I’ve mentioned this book in a previous blog post, but never went into much detail about its synopsis, or my detailed opinions on it. So, here it is! Feel free to contact me directly with any questions/comments/suggestions/feedback. I don’t think there is anything more relaxing than sitting down with a good book and some hot chocolate after a long and stressful day. It’s soul-nourishing and can provide some amazing insight into someone else’s world. So, here’s my first in-depth review of one of the best books that I’ve read in the past two years. Enjoy!
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama
This book is essentially a biopic/autobiography. It captures the entirety of Michelle’s life thus far- from her roots in the South Side of Chicago, all the way to becoming First Lady of the United States. But it doesn’t recount the events that lead up to earning one of the most powerful titles in the world- it recounts the emotional turmoil, happiness, and surprises she faces along her journey. The book allows us to embark on Michelle’s world and allows us to understand the perspective of an African-American woman during one of the most eventful periods in the United States. Here is my breakdown of her book and all that it has to offer:
“Becoming Me” describes Michelle’s humble upbringing in the South Side of Chicago, a place that’s still very much near and dear to her heart. She describes her mother, father, and older brother, Craig, all of whom have shaped her character, inspired her to follow her ambitions, and taught her to never forget where she came from/her roots. Her father worked at the city’s water purification plant, while her mother stayed at home to take care of her kids and the house. She grew up taking piano lessons and always strived to succeed academically, as education was a paramount principle in her parents home. She gains admission into Whitney Young, a magnet school, and eventually makes her way to Princeton University, where she majored in sociology. After graduating from one Ivy League, she moved onto the next by going to Harvard Law School. After Harvard, she joins the Chicago-based law firm, Sidley & Austin, and eventually, meets a man with a peculiar name- who would later become President of the United States. “Becoming Me” is a culimination of everything that shaped Michelle Obama since she was just a child. The adversities that her family faced as a working-class family in Chicago (from her dad having multiple sclerosis, to not having much money, etc.), pushed her to become the best version of herself and provided a launchpad for all of the accomplishments she would go onto achieve in the future. I personally loved this section of the book, as it provided so much context for understanding the Michelle Obama that we know today. Many of the details provided in this part were not disclosed to the public before, and they allowed us to understand where Obama’s brilliance and drive to better America came from in the first place.
“Becoming Us” departs the readers on a new journey: the romantic relationship between Michelle and Barack Obama. Michelle was Barack’s mentor at the law firm Sidley & Austin, and after some coffee dates and getting to know each other, they fell in love pretty quickly. She admired Barack’s passion for changing the world. She was awestricken by his wisdom, his political knowledge, and his inquisitive nature (although at times, she felt it was a lot). They soon get married, and before they know it, she’s helping him with his campaign for the Ilinois Senate. Michelle also has a career change as she shifts from corporate law to non-profit work, in order to help take care of her kids and help Barack with his campaign at the same time. Eventually, her husband becomes President of the United States, and suddenly she’s juggling being the First Lady, taking care of her family, her marital commitments, and her own goals and ambitions. I loved this section of the book. She goes into deep detail about her marriage- the positive and the struggles, even describing the sensitive topic of her miscarriages and eventually deciding on IVF to have her children Sasha and Malia. Michelle describes attending marriage counseling with Barack and reveals that they never had a perfect relationship, like what is shown in media and to the outside world. She strikes a chord with the audience about the challenges of marriage- the struggles between blending two lives together and making it work. This section of the book allows us to the intimate details of Michelle and Barack’s relationship and allows us to understand the significant role that she played during his campaign and presidency, while at the same time, understanding her own emotions and feelings throughout both. She makes it a point to share all aspects of their marriage- not just the highlights, but the low points as well, which makes it very relatable for the audience.
Finally, “Becoming More” details Barack Obama’s presidency, as well as all of the initiatives that Michelle Obama undertakes as First Lady of the United States. One of Michelle’s biggest passions is health and nutrition and allowing lower-middle-class children the chance to eat healthily and stay fit. She started the “Let’s Move” campaign, one that strived to end childhood obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle in children. Some other initiatives that Michelle undertook as FLOTUS include: Joining Forces (supporting veterans through education, wellness & employment opportunities), Reach Higher (inspiring young people to attend higher education), and Let Girls Learn (a government-wide initiative that helps girls around the world to go to and stay in school). She had become a role model for women all around the world- being the first African-American First Lady, and undertaking these four initiatives with the goals of helping to make families healthier, help service members, encourage higher education, and empower girls to go to school. In this section, she also describes being the “mom-in-chief” to her daughters, and how being in the White House required her to put forth the extra effort to raise them like “normal kids” and push them to reach for greater pursuits. This section of the book really allowed us to see all the different facets of who Michelle Obama really was. She’s a mom, a lawyer, a wife, a daughter, a non-profit worker, a philanthropist, and the First Lady of the United States. It is inspiring, it is awe-striking, and it really allows the readers to see the backstory of everything they see about Michelle on T.V.
Overall, I can say that there is no wonder why this was the highest-selling book of 2018. Everyone knows that Michelle Obama is an awesome person, but this book reveals her life through her OWN perspective and gives us so much more insight than we could have seen otherwise. 10/10 recommend.