Becoming

Review From User :

I didn't think I could admire and respect former First Lady Michelle Obama any more than I already did. For eight years she graced our country with her presence, her intellect, her caring. We never had to ask because it is obvious in everything she says and does that she does care. Without a doubt, she cares more than anything about her family, but also cares deeply about this country. Then I read this book, an eloquent memoir, strikingly honest and as inspiring as I suspected it would be. I felt even more admiration and respect for her.

She recounts her time growing up on the South Side of Chicago as she shares the joys of her childhood as well as some of the tough things. She was a feisty child, driven to do well in school. Her story begins : "I spent much of my childhood listening to the sound of striving." She speaks lovingly of her roots in this working class family - her parents and her brother and grandparents and how their values shaped the adult she would become. We witness the grief she experienced over the loss of her father and her continuing admiration and love for her mother who was tenacious in seeking a good education for her children. In this memoir, she is so open and honest and it feels so intimate. Michelle shares her love for her husband and daughters. She speaks about the discrimination against the men in her family, about being black at Princeton, about the attacks on her husband's citizenship, a conspiracy theory primary pushed by the person who unfortunately followed him after his second term. We discover who she is in the times she is undergoing a self discovery, as she questions her aspirations, as she juggles work and motherhood as Barack's involvement and aspirations in politics grow. It felt so intimate as she shares some personal struggles that they faced, ones that I don't think she ever divulged publicly previous to this.

The things she chose to focus on as First Lady - children and their health, assisting military families, developing a program for mentoring young women reflect the things that are important to her and the kind of person she is. With an intellect such as hers, she easily could have taken on larger policy issues, but instead focused on children and families bringing people into the White House who would not have had the opportunity to be there if not for her. This book is over 400 pages and it never felt long. The writing is good and I just kept turning page after page always interested in what she would say next. A remarkable story of a remarkable woman.


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