They say curiosity killed the cat but you don’t have to worry about death when you have nine lives. I for one have been a kitten. Constantly looking to satisfy my never ending need to know. It is in the need to satisfy my curiosity that I got my hands on this book.
Becoming Michelle Obama is the kind of book for those like me. The need to know more keeps you on your toes and is probably the reason you continue to flip through the pages.
The book is divided into three parts: Becoming me, us and more.
In Becoming me Michelle let’s us in to her life as Michelle Robinson, a young black ambitious woman growing up on a South Shore neighborhood in Chicago. At first glance Michelle Robinson is both stubborn and calm in the same fibre but she doesn’t think of herself as shy and as you delve deeper in the pages you find out why.
She introduces us to the company of her extended family. Her great auntie Robi who becomes her piano teacher at the age of four. Her grandfather nicknamed Southside who was kind of a classic old-guy with an infectious love for music. Her Parents Marian and Fraser Robinson ,her mother a full time homemaker and her father a blue collar worker at a city water plant that insisted on doing everything for himself despite his deteriorating health. And her Elder brother Craig that is almost perfect in her eyes and she doesn’t conceal the fact that she looks up to him.
Michelle Obama tells us all about her journey becoming the woman she is. She is clear about how her parents imprinted on the kind of woman she is today. “My father, Fraser, taught me to work hard, laugh often, and keep my word. My mother, Marian, showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice.”
Like any Black woman growing up in America she also shares her experiences growing up in a racially mixed middle class neighborhood and a pretty much white America. From being accused of talking like a white girl, to her grand father South side who was a conspiracy theorist and didn’t trust white people and the Guidance counselor that told her she wasn’t Princeton material.
Throughout the book we see her transform and turn over new leaves. The young girl in the upstairs apartment in Euclid Avenue seems to become more resilient.
And so you find yourself nodding when she talks about what becoming means to her
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self”
One of the lines that resonated with me the most from the book was that
“Failure is a feeling long before it
becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear”
Fast Forward to becoming us.
We see Michelle as a lawyer climbing the cooperate ladder at a law firm, Sidley Austin. Oblivious that a summer associate with an odd name that she was to mentor would walk in and sweep her off her feet. Before Barrack Obama, Michelle tells us about the different guys she dated but your curiosity keeps you flipping to this. (I repeat if you are not high on curiosity I recommend that you borrow some before delving into the pages of this book because some things can only be enjoyed when you are high on adrenaline). Michelle tells us upfront that Barrack Obama wasn’t the kind of guy she would date. She even tells us of her attempt to set him up with other single women at a happy hour which was futile because He was too Cerebral and not a happy hour guy. But most importantly she allows herself to be vulnerable as she let’s us in on the journey of their budding Romance. (I refuse to spoil this for you)
She also let’s the reader in on Barrack’s strong sense of purpose which in a way seemed like an unwitting challenge to her own.
Later, we see her walk out of a high paying career as a lawyer to take on an administrative job after she realizes that she wasn’t fullfilled.
“In my blinding drive to excel, in my need to do things perfectly, I’d missed the signs and taken the wrong road.”
To most she was a hero, public figure and America’s sweet heart but she makes it clear that it was never a bed of roses for them as the first black family in the White House. She has been called an angry Black woman.
“I’ve heard about the swampy parts of the internet that
question everything about me, right down to whether I’m a woman or a man. A sitting U.S. congressman has made fun of my butt. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been furious. But mostly, I’ve tried to laugh this stuff off.”
Throughout the book Michelle Obama is dignified and composed and very carefully chooses her words except when she critics the American political system. She is vocal about her dislike for politics and makes her political stand clear. “Because people often ask, I’ll say it here directly: I have no intention of running for office, ever.”
I know many of you will be disappointed because like me you probably expect a section of Becoming to address the current state of America. She is blatant about her dislike for politics but by now we know that she is not in the business of dwelling on a matter for too long. She also calls out Donald Trump on a couple of things like the time he put her family at risk with rumors about Barrack and some of the comments he made during his campaigns.
All in all Becoming Michelle Obama is mostly a political book but one you are guaranteed to enjoy more than any average political book. There are parts of the book that shed light on the resilient First Lady we all know and other parts are dark. She allows herself to experience some of the dark moments in her becoming for our sake, a case in point being the sorrow of a miscarriage.
But that should not deceive you into thinking of this book as a pity party. Even when she shares her struggles, like having to raise her children as a working mother in America or the time they had to go for couples counseling to save their marriage, it is almost clear that she isn’t doing so for any kind of sympathy from the reader.
This is a definite Must Read.
Have you read this book, if so how did it resonate with you? Where you in any way disappointed by it? Feel free to share with me in the comment section.
All images were sourced from the internet
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