BOOK REVIEW: Becoming by Michelle Obama

38746485Title: Becoming

Author: Michelle Obama

Book Length (Audiobook): 19 hours 10 mins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Links: Goodreads and Amazon

Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir

Read Start Date: January 19, 2019

Read Finish Date: January 27, 2019

The Audiobook of Becoming is read by the author, Michelle Obama. This is really fantastic because its like the author herself is talking directly to you about her own story. On the list of memoirs I have read so far this year, (Educated, The Year of Less, and Girl Wash Your Face), this book ranks toward the top.

The book is very well written and M. Obama writes with the openness and frankness that is the foundation of every good memoir. From fertility issues to the white house, M. Obama seems to hold nothing back.

As the Goodreads synopsis (link above) puts it, “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.”

I couldn’t have said it better. This is a must read for 2019. I have some spoilers in the rest of the review, so feel free not to read on.

Michelle (Robinson) Obama was the first African-American First Lady, and wife of the first African-American US President, Barack Obama. She grew up poor, but happy, in the South Side of Chicago. She went on to study at prestigious, ivy league schools — Princeton, and then at Harvard Law School, but never forgot her humble roots. While working at a law firm in Chicago, she met her future husband. B. Obama was only a first year law student at the time (also at Harvard Law), and was working for the firm as a summer associate. I really liked how M. Obama described first meeting him, and how their friendship blossomed almost naturally into something romantic. M. Obama speaks of meeting him for the first time, their friendship, first kiss, and courtship, like any woman in love.

When B. Obama takes his first step into politics, M. Obama writes about her frustrations with the political machine — how although the Congress seemed to promote family values, this is really not the case in reality. B. Obama (an Illinois State Senator at the time) was basically eviscerated in the media when he missed a vote on a contentious bill. B. Obama missed the vote because at the time, he and his family were visiting relatives in Hawaii and their small daughter came down with a high fever and ear infection, which prevented them from flying back home in time (because I mean really, who wants to take a toddler, let alone a toddler with an ear infection, on an airplane?). B. Obama chose family over work (something that in America not many people do). The bill lost by 4 votes, so B. Obama’s affirmative vote wouldn’t have changed anything anyway.

Toward the end of the book, M. Obama talks about Trump, and her general dislike of the man. How his derogatory words against women and minorities was everything that America should not be about. She discussed how surprised and dismayed she and B. Obama were that Trump had won the election, and what this would mean for the future of the country that they had tried so hard during B. Obama’s 8 years in office to change for the better.

Regardless of the obvious democratic swing to M. Obama’s views, whatever your political persuasion, this book is a great read for 2019.

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