Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Reading Michelle Obama’s Memoir, Becoming, has been the highlight of my month. This book is a reminder that we can do anything with boldness, determination, and hope.

A quick synopsis

Becoming is a great title, as Michelle explains that life is about growing and evolving. Insecurity is a theme throughout her school years and college. During those years, Michelle finds herself asking, “Am I good enough?” I’m sure many readers can relate with that struggle. As Michelle continues in her journey, she embraces her quirks. She notes, “I was a box checker” and shares how playing it safe both helped and hindered her journey to becoming. Throughout her story, Michelle discusses how the whirlwind of politics impacted her family life and personal goals. I enjoyed hearing this backstory to the Obama Presidency.

Notable Quotes

“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something you own.”

“The color of our skin made us vulnerable. It was a thing we’d always have to navigate.”

“Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave other people.”

“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”

“The unknown wasn’t going to kill me.”

My reactions

I’m drawn to memoirs is because it’s comforting to see aspects of myself in famous people. It makes them real and reminds me that we’re all just trying to live life to the best of our abilities. Though this was Michelle’s story, Barack’s fame and career obviously played a huge part in her journey to becoming. I love that Barack is the calm to offset Michelle’s anxiousness. I resonate with Barack in that he’s an introvert and a workaholic who has to retreat periodically. It’s inspiring to see aspects of myself in both Michelle and Barack.

I admire Michelle Obama for many reasons. She is genuine and she resists when people try to put her in a box. “Caring about what other people think puts you on a predictable path, but it’s a boring path.” I loved reading how her relationship with Barack taught her to be less cautious and to take more risks; for example, she left a high-paying lawyer job to help launch a civic-focused nonprofit. I love that in her role as the first lady, Michelle refused to be the picturesque trophy wife; for example, she didn’t read off teleprompters when speaking!

In the White House, Michelle used her influence to call attention to the obesity epidemic among United States children. She started a nutrition and exercise initiative called “Let’s Move.” She even planted a vegetable and fruit garden at the White House. Throughout this process, she stood up against the multibillion-dollar school lunch industry, which was controversial at the time, but produced positive change.

“I didn’t want to be some well-dressed ornament that showed up at parties and ribbon cuttings. I wanted to do something purposeful and lasting.”

Conclusion

I give this book five stars and would recommend it to everyone, regardless of their political preferences. Michelle’s words and character remind me that there are good people in the world trying to use their talents to make a positive impact. This is an important reminder to me personally, as turning on the news can easily send me into a spiral of anxiety.

Becoming is available in print, eBook, and audiobook wherever books are sold.

Thanks for reading!

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