Becoming by Michelle Obama | Book Review | Petite Mélanie The memoir of Michelle Obama, from her childhood to her life living in the most famous house in America: the White House. An honest and humorous look inside the life of the Ex-FLOTUS.
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Becoming by Michelle Obama | Book Review

January 19, 2019

Becoming

Author: Michelle Obama

Publisher: Crown

Release date: November 13, 2018

Pages: 448

Genre: Memoir

Rating: ★★★★★

 

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

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.

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Why did I choose to read Becoming?

I was never a passionate reader of biographies and memoirs. I much prefer fiction, thrillers, fantasy, books that transport you in another world or era.

But this is Michelle Obama we’re talking about. She was the first African American First Lady of the United States, married to the first African American President of the United States.

The Obamas always appeared like a friendly and down-to-earth family. I don’t want to give my opinion on American politics here: I just always thought they looked like genuinely good people.

Also, I realized, I didn’t know much about Mrs. Obama. We know quite a bit about her husband, of course, but what about her? Where did she grow up? How was her life growing up? What was her career, before becoming FLOTUS? And, quite interestingly, what was the President of the United States like through the eyes of his wife?

What’s it about?

Becoming is Michelle Obama’s autobiography. It’s divided into three parts: Becoming me, Becoming us and Becoming more.

The first part, Becoming me, tells the story of Mrs. Obama’s childhood, as a young African American girl living in the South Side of Chicago. Her family shared the upper floor of a two-floor house. Her father was a hard-working man, sadly losing more and more mobility as the years went by, due to multiple sclerosis (MS) and her mother was a stay-at-home Mom.

This first part takes place all throughout Michelle’s school years, from elementary through her undergrad at Princeton then her Law Degree at Harvard, up until her first years working as a corporate lawyer. Which is where she meets Barack Obama.

In the second part, Becoming us, Michelle tells us how she started going out with the future President of the United States. She tells us about their engagement, their eventual wedding, the first years of their marriage, their struggles with fertility until finally, they have one, and then two, adorable daughters.

In those years, both Michelle and Barack have many career changes: in Barack’s case, he becomes State senator, runs for Congress and loses, then runs for Senate and becomes a Senator. Meanwhile, Michelle is a working mother of two children, with a husband mostly away due to work.

Eventually, as people take notice of Barack Obama’s hard work and hopeful message, a question is asked that will change their lives for good: Will Barack run for President? Should he?

[…] I’d seen enough of the divisions to temper my own hopes. Barack was a black man in America, after all. I didn’t really think he could win.

It will come to no surprise to you that Barack did win his race for the Presidency. The third part, Becoming more, begins with Barack’s victory at the 2008 elections. The family then moves into the most famous house in North America: the White House. This part dives into the family life as the First Family. Michelle also explains how she viewed her role as the FLOTUS and how she came to embrace it.

There’s so much to say about this book: I tried not to spoil too much but at the same time, I wanted to give some details that really brought me into this book. Read on to know what I thought of Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

What did I think of Becoming?

Overall, an amazing story and an amazing book. It was super interesting to get the inside look at the life of the most powerful people in the United States. It was also quite interesting to hear the story from the point of view of the wife of (previously) the most powerful person in the free world.

Michelle Obama was honest, humorous and relatable in her memoir. Her sarcastic sense of humor made me chuckle many times while I read. I also appreciated getting to know her and her husband as humans and not as politicians and wife. They make us feel like a normal, down-to-earth family of hard working, albeit brilliant, Americans were at some point holding the reins of the country. Getting to know her family was heartwarming and refreshing.

But most importantly, getting to know her was eye-opening. Never had I realised how much she had sacrificed, being herself a smart and career-driven woman, to have her husband be the politician that he was.

The relationship between Michelle and Barack was also adorable to read as it grew. Again, it allows us to see them as humans only, just like us.

To be honest though, I really started to get into the book when she first meets Barack as a young lawyer. Her childhood, while interesting to know, was a bit harder to get hooked into. The first hundred or so pages took me longer to read than the three hundred other pages.

I still definitely recommend this memoir. If you love biographies or are just really interested in Michelle Obama and her life as the FLOTUS, this book is for you!

So, are you thinking of reading Becoming by Michelle Obama? Have you already read it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time!

P.S.: Buy Becoming on Amazon here!


 

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