I don’t think there is anyone who didn’t know the exact time this book came out.
(I stopped the world,
Male or female it makes no difference, I stopped the world….
Carry on….In Beyoncé’s voice…lol),
The minute I saw her (Michele Obama) talking about it in one of her sit down sessions with Oprah I knew I had to have it. I mean Oprah…Michele…Book….it was like dangling a candy to a child.
Although this book was published in 2018, I ended up getting it in 2019, and surprisingly read it in 2020. The moment it was in my hands I was already taking pictures to show everyone the latest book in my possession and then sort out to keeping it in my library. I was just like, okay, now you have it, it isn’t going anywhere….you just need to find the time to read it….which I just did during this Covid19 self-isolation period. So this is somewhat of a fresh review.
The book has three voluminous chapters, which it would be practical I take the review in bits through these chapters.
- Becoming Me – which touched on her life growing up, her family, education and everything leading up to getting married.
- Becoming Us – This part navigated her relationship with Barack, how they met, basically the whole romance story, the birth of Sasha and Malia. And of course leading up to the entire process/journey to the presidency.
- Becoming More – This is the last bit that touched on life after winning the election, new learnings, growth and her continuous path to self-discovery
She shared how growing up was like for her living with her parents and brother at Euclid Avenue in Southside Chicago, attending middle school at Whitney Young, going off to college at Princeton and then to Havard law school. I saw a lot of me in her reading those pages. She was hardworking, resilient and sadly a box ticker. She talked about how she studied hard because her parents were struggling to afford things for them but kept at it (because they were their investment). She talked about how her father kept going to work despite being sick because he couldn’t afford to go to a hospital.
Michele also talked about her love life, this part I was a little surprised about, although thinking deeply, I had to admit, we’ve all been there, and at some point in our adolescent life we dated someone at the spur of the moment, someone we didn’t love enough.
She was a free spirit who dated a couple of guys she ended up leaving because she knew she wanted more. I particularly felt bad for David, the second boyfriend she spoke about before going off to Princeton. While admitting he was a great guy, she felt he wasn’t the guy for her as she didn’t have great feelings for him. And she hoped that someday the right guy would show up, the one who would knock her feelings sideways and for whom she would be willing to rearrange her priorities for.
She didn’t meet Barack Obama up until she was working at a law firm (Sidley). By this time she was done with Law school and Barack was an incoming summer associate about to go to Havard law school who was assigned to Michele for Mentorship.
They quickly fell in love, with Michele spending a lot of time at his condo. Barack took her to Hawai, where he was born to meet his maternal family and also to Kenya to meet his grandmother and Fathers side of the family. Barack’s Dad was a foreign student who met his mom in America, and who returned back to Kenya to his previous family after he was born.
Soon after they got married, Malia and Sasha were born; both via IVF. I was happy she shared her IVF story, her pregnancy struggle, miscarriage, couple therapy story and how they fought through it all as a couple. Its a blunt/honest read. They fought like every normal couple did, but yet they knew they were meant for each other and so had to work at it.
This chapter also showcased their political journey. By this time Miche, as she was fondly called had left the law firm to practise something more fulfilling thanks to Barack constantly letting her know it was okay to follow her heart (he was her cheerleader). Her husband on the other hand was finding his purpose as well, he wrote a book, he worked multiple jobs, and then ran for a senatorial seat and ultimately presidency. This chapter was fascinating and I had to pause a lot to go watch YouTube videos to relive the moment.
She talked about how she initially didn’t want him running for the senate or presidency as she wanted him all to herself and wasn’t ready to share him with the world. She didn’t like how he was not always around, because he had meetings to attend and how they had to stay up late when he was in town to get a goodnight hug. Michele was a daunting mom who later had to let him do what he was called to do and right there to support him all the way.
She joined him in campaigning in the different states. She was so active that the media tried to use her to hurt Barack’s campaign. They tried to spin the media to make her look bad, they wrote about how she wasn’t the typical smiley FLOTUS they would expect for a POTUS, who had to just wave and look pretty. They talked how she was stern, didn’t smile and too strong to be a woman. They tried to use her strengths as a weapon against her in the media. But somehow they found a way to push through it all.
They found their balance, they ran and they won.
This last bit described their new life. The euphoria if it all. At this point they had won and moved into the White House. She walked us through different emotions….theexcitement, the fear, the enthusiasm but ultimately confidence in navigating this new path.
It’s a whole roller coaster of learnings from moving into the White House up until the point they left after serving their tenure.
It was definitely a great read.
So that’s my review guys.
Have a lovely Easter celebration.