- Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- Genre: Non-Fiction
- Subject: Memoir, Politics, Michelle Obama
Book Review of ‘Becoming’ a memoir by Michelle Obama, one of the most powerful First Ladies the White House has seen and the first woman of color to be one. This book documents her iconic journey leading up to accompanying her husband Presiden Barack Obama on not one, but two terms as the President of the United States.
This book is by far one of the best memoirs I have read in the recent past.
Michelle Obama’s journey is no doubt extraordinary and uncommon but in her memoir, Michelle shares the human side of things along with the chronological facts of her life. By candidly stating that she is an ‘ordinary girl who found herself in extraordinary circumstances’, she puts herself on common ground with her audience. Despite the great accomplishments of her husband and their family’s phenomenal journey, she has shown the deeply human and vulnerable side of each. And in doing so, she accomplishes, what seems to be the objective of her memoir -‘If I can get here, so can you’.
After reading this book, I found that Michelle’s life was a journey where at many junctures she had to make a choice of the following of protocol or paving her own path. It seems to me like she has intelligently chosen both options at different points in time. What this taught me that we need to pick our battles. Not everything is worthy of our time and attention and in our declining these opportunities for battle, we accumulate the energy to win the war. The one game we want to win because it is significant to us.
The journey of the Obama family is a representation of the maxim
‘With great power, comes great responsibility’
As much as Michelle would have wanted Barack to remain her husband and the father of her children, she could see his potential. She made the unselfish choice of sharing him with the nation, at times at her and her daughter’s expense.
For this, Michelle, we are forever grateful to you.
To Michelle’s credit, as a mother, she ensured that her daughters got the best possible experience. Despite being in the limelight, there were the few precious opportunities for playdates, prom night, and all events small and large that can make a childhood memorable.
I see this book belong in the hands of every woman. And when she has learned from it, her daughter would be next in line to receive the legacy of grace, dignity, and strength from this book.
I would further recommend this book to all individuals – men, women, and children, who are serious about their responsibilities and contributions to the world. This book will show them the path forward while balancing it with their duty and commitment to their family.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“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.”
“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.”
“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
Michelle, we need more people on this planet to be able to think and act with the integrity and grace that you and your family have come to represent. The two Obama terms were indeed the golden years of the American Political scene and we know that we owe you a debt of gratitude for a big part of it. For being the pillar of strength that kept our President rooted and enabled to do all the great things he has.
Buy the book Becoming
The audiobook is narrated by Michelle herself and this is perhaps the greatest strength of the audio production. Michelle’s narration significantly adds to the impact of the book by creating a strong feeling of closeness in the narration. Michelle’s integrity of character, her strong sense of self, and her deeply articulated values, all come through in her speaking the words of her book. So much so, that at times it is really not about what she says but that she says it, that makes the message profound.
Buy the audiobook Becoming
There is also Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice if you would like to use the power of journaling as a path to authenticity: