Becoming by Michelle Obama
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
What a title.
Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More. Those are the main sections in Michelle Obama’s eloquent memoir. The fact that we are always learning and always on a journey is true to all of us. You never stop growing and becoming the person you are today. If you’ve reached a point in your life where you say to yourself, yep i’m good. I’ve reached my full potential. Then dang! How terrible is that! You’ve completely closed yourself to all the awesome things you could be learning about yourself, others around you, and the world. Such a great title. Had to start off with that.
Big shout out to my BFF Isaac for giving me this beautiful book for my birthday last year. It was the #1 book on my to read list. So happy I finally got to read it!
If you don’t already know and have been living under a big ass rock, Becoming is an autobiographical memoir about the former United States First Lady Michelle Obama. Michelle goes through so much of herself in this book. Her upbringing, her roots, her family and meeting her husband, former President Barack Hussein Obama, and how she found her voice, and her time during the presidential campaign, to being the first African American First Lady in the White House. Her book also includes various incredible projects like her public health campaign, and being a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S and around the world. Michelle balanced motherhood, her work, and her relationship with Barack Obama all while being the humble and down to earth woman that she still is today.
What a journey I have been through with this book. I expected it to be pretty good but I gotta say, I was completely blown away by this incredible memoir. It’s inspiring and real. I’ve always admired Michelle Obama, but reading this book somehow made me adore her even more! If that’s even possible. She is a true role model, a very well spoken, self-aware and intelligent person who inspires me to be a better version of myself. I also love the fact that you completely get transported into her story, her mind and thought process throughout this entire book. She did not come from a privileged life. It goes to show you with hard work, a level head, and determination, how far you can get in life when you keep on learning and trust in yourself and your beliefs.
As you can tell from the three core sections of the book. The book takes you on a journey from her humble upbringing in South side Chicago, to her college years at Harvard Law School, her career at a prestigious law firm in Chicago when she first met Barack Obama, their relationship and finally having their beautiful daughters Malia and Sasha, and parenthood. To finally beginning her journey with Barack Obama into the campaign trail to when she becomes the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), her time in the White House, and beyond. I loved each chapter of the book, it made for easy reading and never felt like I lost my way in the book in any sense. The writing is absolutely incredible and is very readable no matter what age you may be, It’s a big book at 400 plus pages, but an easy read. What I also loved about the book is how accessible it was and honest too. It did not feel any sort of distance with Michelle, being a person of her stature, she was simply telling her life story as it is. What a story she has. I’m not surprised as to why this book has been on the best seller list for weeks and weeks. It’s an honest and incredible real life story from a very down to earth person.
There are some pretty amazing quotes from her memoir too. I don’t think I would even know where to begin. What I also loved about Becoming, was whenever Michelle told us of a specific time or story in her life, she made sure to also describe what was going on politically around her. For example, whether it being about her neighborhood, and the changes that were happening around her, you got a sense of the whole picture of that specific time period. It was pretty amazing to read and vividly very imaginative in my mind. I could almost feel the air that she was breathing and exactly what she was feeling and going through at different phases of her life. In her early years, she didn’t just talk about her own story and her own life, she also talked deeply about what was going on with her family, her parents and grandparents and the repressed times that they were living in. The fact that her grandfather, years ago, had to accept the fact that he couldn’t go to college and decided to try being an electrician, to then later realize that to become an electrician or working in any big job sites in Chicago, that required a Union Card, which meant that if you were black in those days? You were never going to possess one, and ultimately limiting their opportunities, their goals and eventually, their aspirations. That to me was hard to read, it’s nothing I didn’t already know, but it’s the fact that she covered these kinds of issues in her story because it affected her, and her working class family too. It shaped her as a person, and to see where she came from and the people that surrounded her. You truly get to know Michelle Obama and if you had a similar childhood, family, or adult life to hers, your kind of like, hey, we’re not too different you and I.
In her later chapters when she meets Barack Obama, this hot shot lawyer in Chicago she has to mentor, you really got to know how they came to be the wonderful couple they are today. She was pretty much signing on to this whirlwind of a life she now has very early on in their relationship. Seeing how driven and unafraid her husband was, must have been such a strange experience for her, but she stuck through it and supported him in every way possible. Even if you are not a big Michelle Obama fan, I honestly think this book is worth the read, just to experience what it is like being a first lady and living inside the White House. The stories she tells are breathtaking as well as very detailed and honest. Michelle is just like any of us and got thrown into this whirlwind of a life in the public eye and never once backed down, or lost faith in her duties and her husband. She’s a rock star. I’d like to also rewind real quick to when she was a lawyer in Chicago. She was offered these amazing opportunities in her life with the push of her parents, her grades, her peers and went on to become a great lawyer at a top law firm in Chicago. Later on, she realizes that she hates being a lawyer. How hard would that have been to admit to yourself, especially after everything she has put herself through just to get there! This is Harvard we’re talking about. It made me feel like hey, you know what? You don’t HAVE to have a career path locked down, and it’s Okay to not want to do certain things in life even though your good at them and to change your mind, It’s all a part of Becoming, amirite? That took balls Michelle.
It was interesting to see Michelle and Obama’s relationship too throughout their time together as a young couple, to when they had children and Barack working as a senate and throughout his presidency. They are so normal and complete opposites may I add. Michelle had to find her own balance in life in a way that worked for her and her family. It’s really humbling to read because you put Barack and Michelle on this superhuman pedestal when in reality, they’re just like everybody else trying to juggle their own issues in life. The fact that the Obamas were the first ever African- American family in the White House, ever, and carried their two terms in the White House with grace and no scandals. That is no accident. That is hard work, and dedication, and you know why? Because they are not allowed to fail. The pressure is always high for African-Americans who are in those kinds of positions. Nothing but pure respect for that.
I could actually go on forever about this book but I won’t. This is a book for EVERYONE. Whatever age, race, gender, you name it. It covers everything. It is heartfelt, real, bold, exquisite, honest, and is very relate-able. You also do not have to be into politics at all to read this book, she tells us her real life story about being a woman, her childhood, her family and relationship with her husband and how she got thrown into this wild roller coaster of a position as First Lady of the United States. And then some. It’s a stellar memoir and I honestly adore her more than I ever had before, as well as Barack. I love the fact that after everything she has been through in her life, at the end of the day, she’s still the sweet and down to earth girl from the South side of Chicago. I finished this book feeling optimistic and hopeful. It is the best autobiography I have ever read. What more can you ask for in a book. It was pretty much perfect, engrossing from beginning to end and I cannot wait to read it again in the future. I’ve also heard rave reviews about her audio book! I may give that a go next time. I was also glad that she clarified that she 100% does NOT want to go into politics. It puts my President Michelle Robinson Obama dream to rest and I can just be happy to have her in my life as she is. I don’t think any review will ever do justice to the awesomeness of this book, so pick it up and read it for yourself people! It’s everything and more! Never seen a book receive nothing but rave reviews on Goodreads too.
”For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it more as a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to continuously reach toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with another person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are still moments when I feel insecure or unheard...
..It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing up to be done.“
Michelle speaking about how she had seen Barack during her first term and how he was still the same principled man-
“Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are.”
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
“Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities—in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.”
Genre: Autobiography, Memoir, Biography
Reviewed by Chrissy's Books
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link on this blog.*