I was really looking forward to reading this book because I thought I’d get an insight of what it was like living in the White House and what it was like to be the First Lady. But this book is so much more than that.
Celebrity memoirs are often like fondant-covered cakes, laboured to blemish-free visual perfection, but dry and claggy on the inside. In Becoming, ‘Michelle Obama’ can sometimes be accused of the same, but where she is ‘Michelle Robinson’, the young black girl growing up in the rough and tumble of Southside Chicago, she serves up an account so honest and raw, that the book can only be compared to a Christmas pudding — rich, deep and authentic. While the latter part of her life is fairly well known, the first third of the book honestly explains who she is, anchoring her to the role she will eventually play.
This book is Michelle Obama talking about her life right from when she was born in the South Side, Chicago all the way upto the end of President Obama’s second term. To begin with, this book talks heavily about how family, friends, her job, etc. have had an influence on the kind of values the author possesses. It is easy to notice how having loving, respectful and open minded parents contributed into her being the woman that she is.
She talks extensively about being a black woman being born in a black community and locality, the cultural changes she faced as she changed schools or jobs, her experience with racism, etc.
A woman who was driven by her thirst for knowledge and excellence and who wanted nothing from her folks except a hot meal and money to travel to school. Her grounded upbringing and responsible attitude are further highlighted when she sails through her career or takes up projects as the First Lady.
Further, the book talks about her first meeting with Barack Obama, her first impressions of him and how he was a human being. She talks (almost boasts) about his extraordinary wit, how he is as a partner and lawyer, and how he handled his way through political campaigns and presidency.
This book is nothing but an example of what happens when hard work, grit, determination and talent are channeled in the right direction. I personally cannot help but feel inspired and learn from the author, of how every big or small incident in her life encouraged her to learn and grow.