Happy last day of Motivational March! My advice for today: read Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming.
When I started reading Becoming I went into it knowing it was going to be a great read, but I didn’t know how inspirational and informative it would truly be. It’s a book full of honest high and low life moment for Michelle and Barack Obama and their two girls. Becoming shares so much of Michelle Obama’s personal life from bigger details like marriage, having kids, becoming the first African-American FLOTUS, down to learning to play the piano and her first kiss. It’s a romance, inspirational, and educational novel all in one.
In the first section of her book titled Becoming Me, she focuses mainly on herself as Michelle Robinson.
She discusses growing up living on the second floor of a small apartment in Chicago and how close-knit her and her family are. Her grandfather, nicknamed Southside, brought music and excitement to her otherwise simple, quiet life. Her mom Marian Robinson is a hardworking, professional woman who is a big influence and role model to Mrs. Obama.
She talks about attending Princeton just as her older brother Craig attended before her. She was in Princeton not only as a woman, but also as a minority which was rare in the 1980’s. We learn about graduating from Princeton, getting her first “big girl” job, and even her first encounter with Barack at her law firm and how their bond started to grow.
The chapter titled, Becoming More, takes us deeper into the Obama’s budding relationship. We see her struggle to balance finding her passion in life and possibly considering leaving her lawyer job for something less tense and more exciting. She talks about how Barack always seemed to have it all together while she felt inadequate at times for not having every aspect of her life in perfect order. Barack was way more go with the flow than she was.
Another go with the flow person she encountered was her roommate and close friend Suzanne, who sadly lost her life to cancer at just 27. Suzanne put traveling, partying, and enjoying life to the fullest as a top priority. Suzanne’s zest for life is something that helped Mrs. Obama realize she need to have more fun and cherish the happy and spontaneous times.
Mrs. Obama also shares with us details of her super cute marriage proposal and the Obama wedding in 1992. It’s such a sweet love story.
I love how she shares intimate details with us about her love, it’s relatable and honest.
In this chapter she also dives head first into political and overall career details. She tells the encouraging story of how she started running a non-profit titled, Public Allies, where the mission was to fight for an equal and higher salary in the workplace. While running her non-profit, this was also around the time where Barack started to run for office and where the couple had fertility issues and a miscarriage. These were aspects of her life that she didn’t need to share, but shared it because she knew that her story would help others facing similar challenges.
Luckily she was able to get pregnant and give birth to Malia and Natasha, nicknamed Sasha, a few years later. As if she didn’t already have a lot on her plate, she was now balancing work, motherhood, and being a new wife. To me, Mrs. Obama was proving that life was all about balancing and how to keep the scale from tipping to heavily on one side or the other. She was balancing being humble yet confident, a boss yet a mom, a wife yet an individual. She was also
balancing Barack Obama running for president and her strong feelings against him running at same time, but still trying to be supportive.
I don’t follow politcals as well as I should so I don’t know or understand a lot of political terms, but Mrs. Obama was able to easily put the poltical world into laymans term throughout the book so that it was simple to comprehend. There’s a lot that goes on in the political world that we as citizens don’t know about and wouldn’t know about unless someone like Mrs. Obama shared those details. She dealt with hurtful political backlash about herself and about Barack Obama as well. She had to learn how to properly campaign and give speeches and rally people in neighborhoods to go out and vote which is not easy to learn.
In the final chapter of the book titled, Becoming More, we see Barack Obama become the 44th president of the United States and the first black family to serve in the White House. She details how the family has to move to D.C., enroll the girls in good schools, and redesign some areas of the White House to make it feel more at home such as adding a MLK bust and starting a garden. She even chooses to share with us small details like the codenames Secret Service gave everyone in the family. She shares the story of the lovely bond between her and the Bidens n their kids. These are life moments that we don’t fully get to see from the outside, but she felt that sharing it was impactful.
She shows that life in the White House was difficult and intense at times, but she knew the work that her and Barack Obama was doing was important and effective. During her time as FLOTUS she set up three initiatives like Let’s Move! to get kids eating healthier and being more active, Let Girls Learn which mentored young girls and let them know that they could be anyone or anything they wanted to be and also Joining Forces which provided better support for troops and their families as far as rehabilitation and obtaining jobs.
She tells us honestly about her dislike of the division politics causes in the country and the fact that she didn’t really understand military life until she started campaigning and became FLOTUS. She also tells about the heartbreak, but also relief that that comes with leaving the White House after 8 long years.
I believe that her goal with all of the stories she tells throughout Becoming is to inspire children and adults alike, no matter the race, gender, or even political beliefs and to me she succeeded in doing that.
If I shared every detail I loved about the book I could probably write my own book on it so I shared what I could without giving away too much. I hope this review made you want to run out and by the book, I promise that it’s worth it. Have a lovely day!