Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama
I love reading memoirs, and Michelle Obama’s inspirational memoir “Becoming” is deservedly a bestseller.
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.
Michelle Robinson was raised in the South side of Chicago by loving parents who supported her in graduating from Princeton and Harvard, before moving into the world of corporate law where she mentored Barack Obama and they fell in love.
In this well written and powerful memoir she shares how her father suffered from MS and although it became a struggle, he never shied away from work as a water pump operator. Her mother remained a stay at home mum encouraging both Michelle and her brother Craig on their life’s journey.
She recounts the challenges she faced in becoming a mother to her two daughters Malia and Sasha, and the struggles to maintain a balance between work and motherhood as she moved into community based law.
Once Barack’s political career blossomed life brought a different set of challenges, and Michelle shares how she coped with bigotry, media comments on her fashion sense, her body shape, her facial expressions…
Despite these and many other challenges she writes from her heart of the visits she made to military hospitals, sharing hugs with many people in pain, including parents who had lost family to shootings.
The first project she set up in The White House and a cause close to my heart, was the creation of an edible garden, inviting children to help in its creation and to learn the importance of healthy eating.
Meeting the Queen and Nelson Mandela were highlights shared with her readers, while many low points were equally candid.
I finished this book feeling hugely impressed by Michelle and Barack’s dignity of character and the sheer amount of hard work they endured in aspiring to make the world a better place.
The final paragraph is particularly powerful:
“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.
She lives in Donegal, Ireland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Categories: Book Reviews