This was a pick for my IRL book club in the spring, and I’m so glad! I don’t know if I ever would have picked it up otherwise, due to my avoidance of both political books and memoirs, unless they come suuuper highly recommended. (Sidenote: I love my IRL book club. It’s like having a bimonthly Galentine’s Day.)
Mostly, Michelle Obama is such a good writer! She is t a l e n t e d. Her book also fits into my memoir sweet spot, which is when the person writing it: a) Has actual things to say, b) Says them well, and c) Has the life experience necessary to have some self-reflection while doing it.
This is Michelle’s story from birth to present day, and the events she chooses to talk about are chosen carefully. President Obama is of course a central character, but he is not the center of the book. That is always 100% Michelle, and any time he’s mentioned, it’s always through the lens of Michelle’s experience. She writes about growing up in Chicago, her mother and father, friendship, death and illness, her romance/marriage, motherhood, and of course the experience of being First Lady with what seems like ease (so you know it must have been hard work). Even if you don’t normally like memoirs, I would still recommend this. She’s just so eloquent and thoughtful.
One thing about the audiobook is that it is seventeen hours long. She narrates it herself, which was an excellent decision; do the audio if you like audio at all. Only, just know that she is a slooow narrator. I increased up to 1.25x speed almost immediately, and then about halfway through to 1.5x, and then near the end to 2x. Normally I can barely handle 1.5x speed because the narrators start to sound all chipmunky to me, but she still sounded pretty normal at that speed! 2x was only just slightly chipmunky. Seriously, very deliberate speaker here, but a professional audiobook narrator could have narrated this thing in probably eleven or twelve hours instead of seventeen.