Inspiring memoirs are my current favourite and Michelle Obama’s Becoming tops that list right now. The former U.S. First Lady is definitely a remarkable woman and widely respected, this book will make you respect her way more than you already do.
This book is divided into three sections – Becoming Me, where she talks about her childhood, her roots, how and where she got her drive from; Becoming Us, where she talks about her relationship with Barack Obama and the journey towards becoming a family; Becoming More, where she talks about how she could make the most of their time in the White House, by making a difference, initiating change.
In the first section, she opens up about her family, the kind of ideologies her parents brought her up with, the multiple unpleasant accounts of racism despite which she emerged strong. She talks about how a high-paying, reputed law firm job did not give her the satisfaction when compared to one where she’s helping people, and I think a lot of us should truly focus on that.
Furthermore, she talks about her relationship with Barack, how they both are polar opposites, how she learns that there are things you can’t teach in a relationship, things even love can’t build or change. She has undoubtedly been a supportive partner, but also specifies that the pursuit of one’s dreams should not come at the expense of the couple. (Giving us major relationship advice and goals at the same time!)
She addresses numerous other scenarios she’s been through, dealing with personal loss, grieving the death of a friend, indicating that once you’ve known loss of that kind, you know there’s more coming; her obsessive need to achieve perfection and taking the wrong road in process, and realises that she wanted more joy and meaning in life.
She elaborates her role, responsibilities and fears as a wife, a mother and the First Lady. Loved how she brought up her girls, breaking down old-school patriarchy in her household, maintaining enough time and energy for life at home despite her hectic work life, struggling to give her girls some aspects of a “normal” life and at the same time, worrying for their safety and the impact the girls would have by growing up in the White House. She recounts so many funny stories bout her family that are so heart warming!
She focussed on many social issues during her time as First Lady – helping military families, bringing awareness to children’s health and obesity, working on an organic farm in the White House lawns with school kids, mentoring young women and so many other things she stood for.
Overall, it’s a truly inspiring story, a story that everyone should know. The book would seem overbearing with 400+ pages, but you get hooked on and it doesn’t seem that long. The story ends with the end of Barack’s presidency and on such a sweet note –
“I had nothing or I had everything. It depends on which way you want to tell it. Whatever was coming next, this was a story we could own.”
Happy reading. 🙂