I’m a big fan of Michelle Obama. I read and really enjoyed Becoming back in 2019, and I was pretty sure I’d be getting around to The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times (2022) as well. I’ve enjoyed listening to these as audiobooks, and I like that Michelle Obama is the reader. The only problem this time is that I checked The Light We Carry out from the library, and it was automatically and unexpectedly returned when I only had half an hour left. So, I waited the many months before I could check it out again in order to get the last half hour. Thus, the whole book is not as fresh in my mind as it otherwise may have been
It’s hard to imagine a world where Michelle Obama writes a book that I don’t like. I loved Becoming, and I learned a lot about her life when I read it. The Light We Carry is different. Obama has a good amount of advice mixed in with anecdotes about her mother, her time as first lady, and the stories of people she’s met. Obama is intelligent, thoughtful, empathetic, practical, and optimistic, and it definitely comes across in her writing. I admire what she’s accomplished while still being relatable.
Much of this book is advice on how to live in times where we feel unsettled: like when Trump is president and there’s a new virus wreaking havoc all over the world. And she has very good advice: eating well, exercising, sleeping, spending real time with friends, choosing your battles wisely. I found her advice insightful and wise, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the book. Generally, the advice portion of the book were things that I already knew and agreed with.
My favorite parts of the book were when she tied her advice into specific stories about her life or people she’d met. These included: Michelle’s mother’s attitude towards all the pomp at the White House; Michelle trying to make friends at the White House; watching her daughters grow up; and what she wished for them in the future.
One story that really stuck with me was when Barack Obama was deciding to run for President. Michelle said that Barack gave her the power to nip the whole thing in the bud. She knew that a presidential campaign would cause huge upheaval in her family, and she was worried about the impact on her children. There were many valid reasons to avoid the whole thing, but she said yes, which changed her life beyond what she could have imagined. As someone who is often afraid of change and “what might happen,” this was a powerful reminder for me to embrace new possibilities because you never know what might happen.
Highly recommended. Of course.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.