I have always felt a warm regard for the former First Lady, Michelle Obama. “What a cool woman” I would think as I read about her latest initiative or after watching as she sang along with Missy Elliot and James Corden during Carpool Karaoke. Other than acknowledging that she was, at that time, one half of the world’s most recognised power couple and noticing the unrelenting unjust criticism from the right-wing media, I can’t say I knew much about her or her life.
Becoming, the deeply personal memoir of Michelle Obama was first released in 2018 and was automatically met with acclaim and hype. Maybe this is why it took me so long in getting around to reading the autobiography but now that I have, I can wholeheartedly say it deserves all its praise and accolades. The story of an extremely strong, intelligent, ambitious and relatable black woman from the Southside of Chicago, Becoming truly took my breath away.
The book is split into three parts, Becoming Me – an insight into Michelle’s childhood, life and career up until meeting Barack, Becoming Us – her life with Barack, the progression of their careers and the birth of their children, and Becoming More – life in the White House. What struck me first and foremost is how salt of the earth and humble Michelle comes across. She has by no means had a difficult upbringing, as she speaks warmly of her childhood, but was never brought up with a silver spoon in her mouth. With a loving family supporting her, she paved a way for herself through sheer hard work and a tenacious spirit.
At no point does Michelle Obama feel a need to sensationalise her and Barack’s life, she shares her honest thoughts and feelings, including her disdain for politics, the loneliness of the lifestyle and the suffocation she sometimes felt. Throughout her eight years at the White House and even to this day, Michelle has had to endure a slew of racism, misogyny and hatred from the media and notably the current Idiot-In-Chief, D*nald Tr*mp, whilst forcing a smile through gritted teeth.
In Becoming, I was so pleased to see her remaining quiet no longer. Classy and articulate, she manages to throw some subtle shade at her nay-sayers whilst remaining cool-headed and dignified.
Whilst most people may be mostly interested in her life since meeting and falling head over heels for Barack, I found myself most interested in her formative years. Discovering what made her into the inspiring woman she is today – her life in her family’s small apartment on Chicago’s Southside, her loves before Barack, her life at the Ivy Leagues.
Whilst reading I continued to be in awe of her and almost felt ashamed for previously not knowing what a truly remarkable woman she was. She has accomplished so much on her own merit and has lived such a rich and fulfilling life.
Every so often you will come across a memoir that has the ability to captivate and inspire you. Becoming is this biography for me. Introspective and inspiring hope within me and many others. It was a true pleasure to learn more about Michelle, the woman and not just Michelle, the former President of the United States’ wife.
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