I have loved Michelle Obama for years and Becoming just scratched this itch. This woman! Hard working, humble, gracious, driven, smart, caring and full of so much integrity. She almost makes me want to be American (and then I remember the health care issues and hug my Canadian passport like a security blanket). Had Hillary Clinton won the last election I might have read Obama’s memoir in a different light- inspiring yes, but in a world where inspiring things were still relatively common. Since the Obamas left the White House, however, I have not been inspired. I don’t need to state all the disappointments of this administration here (the ‘fake news’ media is keeping pretty good tabs on that for all of us) but suffice to say that Trump, and his lackluster FLOTUS Melania, draw a sharp contrast the Obama values.
Which brings me back to Michelle Obama and her memoir. I like that she details a loving, supportive upbringing in the black neighborhoods of Chicago’s south side, reminding us that good things and good people and so much potential exist in ‘neglected’ spaces. I like that her personal story shows us the additional obstacles that face black women, and how these obstacles weren’t insurmountable when she had people believing in her and resources like good schools to back up that support. I loved the first person accounting of Barack trying to convince Obama to go on a date. I appreciated her bluntness on a number of gender-based discrepancies, some of them cultural (the expectations for a FLOTUS) and some of them biological (the disproportionate toll on the female half of a couple going through in vitro treatments). I read her career change section with real anticipation- I was once grinding it out in Big Law, so I wanted to see if her swerves could be a roadmap for me (undecided, but it answered some of my questions about how she made the leap from corporate law to health care administration). Finally, I loved the hell out of how honest Obama is throughout this memoir- she laid it before us on what was tough, what was joyful, what was rewarding, and it made me feel like I know the Obamas and the inner White House workings a little bit more. If I’ve always harboured a hope that Obama might take a run at the presidency, I came away from her memoir believing her when she says she doesn’t want that life. While this disappoints me from a political perspective, I’m really looking forward to how she’ll use her platform now that she’s not under the microscope.
#CBRBingo- listicle (she made Barack’s reading list)