I am probably the last person to review Michelle Obama’s near perfect memoir, Becoming, but being late to the party is better than missing it entirely. I achingly miss the Obamas and spending this time with Michelle was something of a salve. I took longer than I needed to to read this one because I didn’t want it to end.
Michelle Robinson had a happy childhood in Chicago. She adored her older brother, Craig, and is still very close to him. She learned a lot from her father who worked for the city and never missed a day of work despite a crippling MS diagnosis. Michelle’s mother alternated between working as a secretary and being a full-time homemaker in the small apartment they lived in above her aunt’s house in South Shore. She eventually moved into the White House with her daughter to help lend some stability to her granddaughters during the transition from Chicago to Washington DC.
“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. Together, in our cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago, they helped me see the value in our story, in my story, in the larger story of our country. Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
I appreciated how Michelle laid out her story. Becoming is Michelle Obama’s memoir and it is the former First Lady’s story that is front and center. She devotes a lot of time on her childhood, a time most people haven’t heard about yet, as well as her education and early career ambitions. She went to Princeton and then Harvard Law School before landing at an impressive law firm in Chicago but Michelle became disenchanted with being a lawyer despite the large payday she was receiving. However it was at Sidley Austin LLC that she met summer intern Barack Obama who went from close friend to future husband. While Barack is an important part of her life Michelle has her own identity and we see his rise to political super stardom through her eyes not his. Motherhood and her daughters’ well-being were Michelle’s top priorities during her husband’s Senate and Presidential campaigns; it was important for her children to have as close to normal childhoods as possible which is admirable and I do think she achieved her goal.
“There were days, weeks, and months when I hated politics. And there were moments when the beauty of this country and its people so overwhelmed me that I couldn’t speak.”
Michelle only gives the highlights from the eight years her family spent at the White House which left me wanting so much more! She is an excellent writer; she is open about her trials and tribulations both in and outside the public eye. With the success of this book I hope she considers writing a follow up, one that focuses more on their time in the White House and maybe the years that have followed.