“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
This book was eagerly anticipated, and since its release it has gone from strength to glory and broken all sorts of records. No surprise there, seeing as Michelle Obama is class personified, an inspiration to a lot of women worldwide, and arguably the most popular first lady ever. A dear friend gifted the book to me for my birthday which made me super happy, and I was immediately whisked away into Michelle’s world. from to Princeton and Harvard, then the law office where she met Barack culminating in their journey to the White House.
The book is split into three sections: Becoming Me takes us back to her childhood as Michelle Robinson, living in a tiny house on the Southside of Chicago with her family. We get to see her family dynamics, and experience the bond and love they shared living with so little. Michelle discusses her fears and insecurities, her constant striving to succeed which leads her to Princeton, Harvard, and ultimately the law firm where she meets Barack.
The next section- Becoming Us– gives a firsthand account of her relationship with Barack, from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife and mummy and daddy. We get to see how Michelle balances motherhood with work, and really balances life with Barack’s ambition.
The final section Becoming More takes us to the White House, and gives us a behind the scenes view of the journey to the White House, and the 8 years in power. Barack Obama’s election was a historic moment, and even though the Obamas handled every moment with grace, it goes without saying that the whole experience would have had incredibly stressful and difficult moments. In this book, Michelle takes us through it all- the highs and lows of being the first Black family in the White House.
I was humbled and excited to be First Lady, but not for one second did I think I’d be sliding into some glamorous, easy role. Nobody who has the words “first” and “black” attached to them ever would. I stood at the foot of the mountain, knowing I’d need to climb my way into favor.
The book humanises not just Michelle, but the Obamas as a whole. It is easy to see people in the public eye and either vilify or revere them, forgetting that they are just like us. We saw Malia and Sasha with their parents, also ever so graceful, but did not really know what their lives were like away from the cameras. We saw Michelle launch different initiatives, give interviews, but we had no idea what it took for that to come to light. We saw Michelle and Barack be lovely together, but had no idea what they had to give up, and what they gained. Becoming also sheds more light on her mother-Marian Robinson’s- invaluable help during this time.
It is a top notch memoir and I do not have any bad thing to say about it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I am looking forward to Barack’s memoir to see things from his viewpoint. I have also heard good things about the audio book, and so I may be ready to use that audible trial to listen to my first ever audio book.
I will end this with one of my favourite quotes from the book:
“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”