Becoming by Michelle Obama was one of my favorite reads for 2018. It was entertaining and insightful, motivational and thought provoking, it made me laugh (when she talked about how Barack proposed or the funny things Sasha and Malia said during their first family interview with Access Hollywood), it made me cry (when she talked about her dad and how much he suffered with Multiple sclerosis but still never missed a day of work and when she told the tragic story of Hadiya Pendleton). But most of all it made me look up to this woman even more than I havealready.
The story about how this little girl who grew up in the South Side of Chicago in an upstairs apartment in her mother’s Aunt and Uncle’s home ended up becoming the First Lady of the United States of America (FLOTUS) and sleeping in bedroom bigger than her entire childhood apartment, is a fascinating one.
The book was separated into three sections. In the first part of the book, Becoming Me, we learned about her childhood and young adult life. Michelle was a little girl, no different from many other little girls across the world, she played piano, enjoyed playing with her dolls and even faced bullies on the playground. But from an early age, Michelle Obama had decided that education was her path to success so she focused on ensuring that she always did her best in school. This hard-work and determination led her all the way to Princeton University, following in the footsteps of her big brother Craig, and eventually to Harvard Law School where she completed her law degree. After Havard, she began working in a fancy law firm in downtown Chicago called Sidley and Austin, in one of the big buildings that she passed on the bus as a child on her way to and from school.
The second section of the book was entitled Becoming Us. Here we were introduced to the story of her and Barack Obama before they became the President and First Lady of the United States. Their love story was not always champagne and butterflies, sometimes they had passionate disagreements, at one point they even went to counselling to find a middle ground for some of their issues but through it all their love for each other never wavered. Even when Barack was away at work for days at a time and Michelle was home with the kids, while working a part-time job (which felt like a full-time job), they made it work. Their love for each other could not be denied and when Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America, it was put on full display for the world to see.
Becoming More, was the third and final section of the book. This section was like a behind the scenes view of the White House. We learned about the many initiatives that Michelle Obama championed while as first lady, the many day to day challenges of her husband’s job, its effect on her, her children and her husband and how her mother Mrs. Marian Robinson although living in the White House, was able to live her life on her terms.
If I could, I would have just sat down with a cup of hot chocolate and some cheese puffs and read this book cover to cover in a day or two.
I would recommend it to any young person who is growing up and feels like “the world is so big and I am so small“. The story of Michelle Obama just goes to show that you never know where this path called life may lead us, you maybe a little girl growing up in Chicago one day and the First Lady of the United States or President of the US in years to come, your story and your path is unique. As Michelle stated in the book:
“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there is grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
PS. Becoming by Michelle Obama was the best selling book of 2018. It is available on Amazon for US$19.50 Hardcover.