Becomingby Published 13 Nov 2018
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms.
Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
I’d been lucky to have parents, teachers, and mentors who’d fed me with a consistent, simple message: You matter.
As an adult, I wanted to pass those words to a new generation.
Look, I'm not a happy crier. I might cry at songs about leaving and missing someone; I might cry at books where things don't work out; I might cry at movies where someone dies. I've just never really understood why people get all choked up over happy, inspirational things. But Michelle Obama's kindness and empathy changed that. This book had me in tears for all the right reasons.
This is not really a book about politics, though political experiences obviously do come into it. It's a shame that some will dismiss this book because of a difference in political opinion, when it is really about a woman's life. About growing up poor and black on the South Side of Chicago; about getting married and struggling to maintain that marriage; about motherhood; about being thrown into an amazing and terrifying position.
I hate words like "inspirational" because they've become so overdone and cheesy, but I just have to say it-- Michelle Obama is an inspiration. I had the privilege of seeing her speak at The Forum in Inglewood, and she is one of the warmest, funniest, smartest, down-to-earth people I have ever seen in this world.
And yes, I know we present what we want the world to see, but I truly do think it's genuine. I think she is someone who really cares about people - especially kids - and wants to give them better lives and opportunities.
She's obviously intelligent, but she also doesn't gussy up her words. She talks straight, with an openness and honesty rarely seen. She's been one of the most powerful women in the world, she's been a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, she's had her own successful career, and yet she has remained throughout that same girl - Michelle Robinson - from a working class family in Chicago.
I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book.
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I’m so thrilled to add Becoming to my list! A powerful, surprising and moving book as well as refreshingly candid that I think will be deeply inspirational to many.
I understand the hype!
I didn't know much about Michelle Obama nor her husband. This book absolutely humanized them and show me how much they care about others. The contrast with the actual political situation is blatant.
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.
I found this fast-paced, interesting, and touching. Also, heartbreaking to be painfully reminded of having once had a thoughtful, ethical president and first lady, and the vindictive, misogynist, racist disaster who doesn’t read that we have now.
Michelle wrote about how guilty she felt for putting out secret service agents and people driving in New York City so she and Barack could have a rare date night together. Now we have a president who doesn’t mind squandering 3.6 million taxpayer dollars every time he wants to play golf at his own resort. (Currently at a total of more than 72 million—how many teachers could we pay, schools and bridges could we repair if he cared at all?)
I also felt more close to the Obama’s because even though I’m white and not Ivy League material, it was interesting to read about their astronomical student loan debt and that though both of them could have made a ton of money in corporate law, Barack wanted to do something to help people and Michelle got out of corporate law for the same reason, well before Barack had his sights on national politics. I also struggled with student loans and car payments. When I paid them off I thought, now life will be a lot easier. Ha! Whoops. Turns out life is always ready to just present new challenges.
It seems strange to me that Michelle’s initiative to get folks, kids in particular, to eat more vegetables and be more active could in any way be construed as controversial when Diabetes 2 is ravaging our nation. Michelle herself learned a lot about nutrition upon becoming first lady. She'd always worked out, but often took her girls to McDonalds to save time pre-White House.
I enjoyed this memoir a lot. I teared up at times, remembering the sad events that Michelle and Barack were on the front lines for like Sandy Hook and the deaths of black folks and gay folks at the hands of cops and racists and homophobes. For all the attacks made on her for stupid things like what she wore, Michelle has been able to remain largely upbeat and positive, and this book reflects that. It’s an important contribution to history. Her story of how education helped her get from where she was economically on the South Side of Chicago, which grew less racially diverse every year because of white flight, is truly inspiring, as is the way she is as a mother, wife, career woman, and human being.
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