Michelle Obama’s Memoir: BECOMING

I did not run out to buy Becoming because I was not sure I would find it interesting. Borrowing from my neighbor, I found it a fascinating book. Thank goodness I was wrong! The former First Lady is not only a bright, caring individual,  she is also a wonderful writer.  When I mentioned that to someone, she said, “Well, she’s a lawyer,” but that does not automatically make someone a good writer. It may make her a careful, organized writing, but Obama goes beyond that and really kept my interest.

I learned a great deal about her life from her memoir, most of it surprising. For example, I did not realize she grew up in a small, second floor apartment in her aunt’s house with a working class father, very similar to my background (5 kids in 3 sleeping areas in our first house). Also, she and her older brother both attended Princeton as undergrads, and Michelle went to law school. And I am sure her parents struggled financially as my parents did with five children, four of which went to college and two of the four going to grad school: MIT and Harvard.)

I did not realize that she really wasn’t keen on having her husband become a politician. She did not feel cut out for the Washington scene.But as I read her memoir, I realized she made her peace with Barack’s decision and stuck by him, bringing ideas to the White House, especially her White House garden and also her exercise program for children called Let’s Move!, which focuses on ending the “childhood obesity epidemic” within a generation. I actually think she would actually succeed as head of Health & Human Services and realize her vision.

Finally, I realized that the former FLOTUS is a down-to-earth caring mother, wife, and citizen and I admire her fortitude as the first black first lady. At the end of the book, she sums up her experience quite eloquently. Here is the next-to-the-last paragraph from her book that I believe demonstrates her honesty, humility, and humanness:

I grew up with a disabled dad in  a too-small house with not much money in a starting-to-fail neighborhood, and I also grew up surrounded by love and music in a diverse city in a country where an education can take you far. I had nothing or I had everything. It depends on which way you want to tell it.”

And Michelle Obama tells it well. Looking at the title, I also realized, after reading the book, that instead of reading the title as Becoming (by) Michelle Obama, I could also read it as Becoming Michelle Obama, because I think she is still becoming a person of knowledge, experience, and humbleness that will help her make what she calls …”A glimmer of the world as it could be” into a bright light of hope.

P.S. There are wonderful photos in the becoming, which is available everywhere!


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