Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre:  Memoir
Publication Date: November 13th, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Length: 426 pages
Description from Goodreads:

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.

Ugh. Prior to reading her book, I didn’t think I could love Michelle Obama any more. But hey, turns out I can. I WANT MORE.

I’ve been looking forward to this book since its release. Evidently, everyone else in my town was too, because I was on a 2+ month-long waiting list through my library for this one.

In case you couldn’t guess, after finally reading it, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. There were parts of it that I felt could have been bulked up a bit more, but the book is already quite long (the audiobook was about 17 hours I think), so I understand why some things seemed to be glossed over. But maybe that’s me projecting because I truly just want Michelle to run the world.

In this book, she skips around to the various times of her life, from growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her days at Princeton, working as a lawyer in Chicago, the campaign trail, and finally, her time as First Lady.

She writes deeply and openly about all parts of her life.

I loved hearing about President Obama’s presidency from her perspective, and I especially liked that the book focuses on HER, not her husband. Well, for the most part anyway. There were a few points where it felt like the focus of her life was on Barack, but I guess that’s just the way it is when your husband is running for president. Even when the main focus is on him, she still shows what’s going on with her behind-the-scenes.

One thing I love about this book is that she doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff. She talks about the strain Barack’s political career placed on their early marriage, her experiences with racism throughout her life, and the despair felt in the White House following the 2016 election. She doesn’t really sugar coat things, so what you will get from this book is a seemingly honest look at her life thus far.

I listened to the audiobook, and I definitely recommend that format because it is read by Michelle herself.

Overall, this was a well-written and enjoyable read. If you’re even slightly interested in learning more about American politics, race, or President Obama and Michelle’s legacy, I’d recommend it.

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