Becoming is a biography authored by former First Lady Michelle Obama. This book release was highly anticipated. I was among the first in line to buy a copy at my local Barnes and Nobel bookstore. Becoming is a solid read, although not what I expected. Read on for my very honest book review of Becoming.
The first part of the book is simply named “Becoming Me”. In this section we get Michelle’s honest telling of her childhood to womanhood years.
Unlike others who just wanted to read Becoming to see how she snagged Barack. I actually wanted to read her backstory to get to know why Michelle Obama is so amazing.
Michelle being born an Black in America already set her a distance back from the starting line in society. She wasn’t born rich and had to work harder than her white counterparts to get ahead. She was also raised by parents and grandparents still living in the aftermath of segregation. The precursor to continued racial tensions that still plague the United States today.
The section continues along and we learn other details about the FLOTUS Michelle Obama. I enjoyed reading that she had a school yard style fight, boyfriends, make-out sessions, and wasn’t afraid to fulfill her sexuality. Michelle’s parents were laid back in such a way that encouraged her to experiment, but to exercise common sense. She was also lucky to make great friends early in her life such as the daughter of civil rights icon Jesse Jackson. Michelle was also super observant and really close to her family which I admire. Her big brother was someone she shared a close relationship with. Her brother is also accomplished and an awesome basketball player.
The following section “Becoming Us” was cute yet awkward to read. This was the area where she detailed how she met Barack Obama. I was expecting a cliche love at first sight story, ending with Barack sweeping Michelle off her feet. Their first encounter was very different and no frills. It truly seemed like perfect timing by the universe. At the time, Barack a rising star at the time who was being heavily courted by Michelle’s law firm. Barack had come in for an interview late, wet and disheveled. Michelle thought he was brilliant but she didn’t see the hype about him. Barack was handsome and charming even then, his swag and intellect probably saved him in that interview.
Michelle wasn’t immune to Barack’s presence, but she didn’t throw herself at him and I loved that.
Later in the section was what I really wanted to know. As time went on in their friendship they realized they were meant to be together. Barack and Michelle were more alike than they realized, both having brains and ambition. After they married life wasn’t a cake walk, like many younger couples they worked multiple jobs to keep the bills paid.
Later they would stress over their ability to have children, but IVF treatment granted them two daughters. They had fights and struggled to find balance in their relationship as Barack pursued a promising career in politics. The fact of supporting your spouse, but living life as a single parent because of it. Michelle even admitted they went through a series of couples therapy to get them back on track. This Becoming More is the side of Michelle many of us wanted to hear from.
Behind the glam of being First Lady, she let us in on her life struggles and how she overcame them, not sugar coating anything.
Lastly, in the final part “Becoming More” is when Michelle Obama reflects on life in the White House. Their life in the White House was scrutinized more than any other FLOTUS and POTUS. Luckily, the pressure society put on them was unable to break them. It is a fact that the Obama administration didn’t have any scandals and even their children remained out of the papers for bad behavior.
I actually got angry reading about the lengths Michelle and Barack took to avoid seeming too extravagant. Their furnishings, wardrobe and meals out were paid for with their own money. The white house dinners created for them also kept simple, with vegetables grown from the garden. A stark contrast to the current administration and perhaps a few before them. It was very unfair that they were put in a position and expected to fail.
Michelle Obama represents something I can’t define with just one word. She is strong, confident and she actually cares about the world and the people in it. Michelle has shown that no matter what your humble beginnings may be, with confidence and resiliency you can find your own path.
Becoming is not a dramatic page turner and it won’t teach you how to snag your own Barack Obama. It was a slow read for me at times, but it was manageable to get through. On a positive note, reading Becoming has encouraged me. I’ve decided that it’s OK to have faith that I’m on track to becoming my best self.
Have you read Becoming? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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