I listened to the audiobook read by Michelle Obama. I always try to do that when I can so I can hear the voice of the author. Hear her speak her own written words in her own words.
Michelle Obama never asked to be FLOTUS.
She wasn’t trying to be.
That’s how life happened though and she handled that change and transition with grace.
I didn’t agree with some of her choices in that I myself wouldn’t have made them if I were in her shoes, but that’s part of the beauty of hearing about the life of someone. You get a different perspective.
It is always hard to rate a book written about a persons life especially when it is written *by* that person. So, as per usual for me with these types of books, we have that middle of the road 3 star rating. Which, let’s face it, is usually not in alignment with most other reviews of autobiographies…but I am Queen of the Unpopular Opinion after all and accepted that fact long ago.
Let’s mingle the good and the bad:
It was hard to hear about her father suffering from MS.
It was hard to hear about the judgements and gossip she had to deal with first in getting into school when she was younger and later on being the first lady.
It was hard to imagine at first what it would be like to be FLOTUS.
Michelle wrote about her early life and upbringing. Her career. Her choices. Her dating life and then marriage. She wrote about her miscarriage and about her decision to go through a painful process to have her first daughter and then her second.
I imagine such a work would be hard to do emotionally. Yet, I felt while reading that she was keeping her reading audience at a bit of a distance. It felt a bit separated. A wall perhaps she built up around many of her inner thoughts.
On the more book critic side of things, I did notice that she focused quite a lot on race. I understand she and her family faced an uphill battle in this regard. They had race tossed into their faces daily. Yet, I felt she focused *quite a lot* on it.
She also seemed to play up black and minority groups more almost to the detriment of anyone white. Same with men versus women.
Not the entire time, just a thing I picked up on in the last few hours or so of the book. That’s not a great way to try to bridge the gap of race and the sexes in general. I feel like she probably has a prejudice against white people, more specifically against white men. Which is probably due to how she and her family had been treated or felt treated by white people (men).
She also wrote her family as a sort of ideal Americana. This is a more difficult to explain nuance I picked up on with her writing. The language she used was flowery and a sort of ideology; as if her painting of this flowery picture is the visual she is trying to convey of her family versus the reality. Again, this could have stemmed from her feeling prejudice and racism from others. From feeling misunderstood as “other” which she does mention.
Maybe this language choice wasn’t her own as several authors autobiographies do have, if not ghost writers, help. There isn’t anything wrong with that, just noticable as a voracious reader. (You pick up on strange word choices and oddities like that.)
Beyond those things though? As a whole? This was empowering. As it was meant to be.
Michelle realized that there wasn’t really a descriptive day to day sort of book on the market for those going into office to know what it is like.
Michelle owns up to her mistakes and faux pas.
She was concerned over the lack of healthy diet and exercise for children of America and made that her platform.
The love she has for her country is a driving theme throughout, but the love of her family is the big takeaway. She never asked for any of it, but she supported her husband and her family.
I feel like the glaring irony with the entire book was that it felt, at the end upon further reflection, like it was written with a dual purpose. Part memoir but also part image based. She cares about how people perceive her. She wrote this in part to control and project how she wanted others to view her.
Going off of the many 4 and 5 star reviews here, I can see she succeeded in that regard.
Takeaway here is Michelle strikes the reader as a very strong, ambitious, stubborn, no b.s. sort of woman who took the opportunity she had to do some good.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.