Since the release of her book Becoming in November of 2018, I have been hearing about it. More recently, I saw that it was the Ottawa Public Library’s most requested book in 2019. Either of those reasons would have been a good reason to pick up the book but the actual reason that I read it was because it is my book club’s next book.
I reached for the book with little in the way of expectations though I obviously wondered what all the hype was about. It seems a bit early (in Michelle's life) to label the book an autobiographical memoir but it is her story to date and it is told from her perspective so I guess it is a memoir of sorts.
Becoming is a story of gender equality, race, marriage and politics.
The first section, Becoming Me, shares the story of her childhood and education in Chicago and how she became who she is. That is, a highly educated woman, a lawyer cum public servant cum hospital administrator and a devoted wife and protective mother.
The second section, Becoming Us, covers her romance and her marriage to Barack Obama.
The final section, Becoming More, tells of the Obama family and their lives as public figures when Barack becomes the President of the United States. It tells how Michelle tried to retain some sense of her own identity and to achieve some sense of normalcy for her family. It shares the sacrifices she made when she put her own dreams aside to support her husband’s goals. Despite not being able to follow her own career path, she supported the work of her husband and turned her considerable talents to making meaningful contributions indirectly associated with his work.
The first video shown here presents a short peek at the book and Michelle Obama’s story:
The second video, in which Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey surprise a group of school girls with a visit, does a better job in my opinion of sharing some of Michelle's experiences becoming the First Lady and it gives you a feel for the story you will find between the covers of the book:
WHO WROTE BECOMING?
Even before I picked it up, I wondered if Michelle wrote the book or if she had employed a ghost writer. Could someone be so successful in so many areas of her life and also become a bestselling author?
I could not find anything definitive to answer that question. Business Insider says that Michelle used, “a team of people”, which makes sense to me and The News Record says that Michelle asked for help from a friend and that she and that friend met about the book on and off again for a period of nine years.
Becoming is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. I enjoyed it and think that no matter who did the writing it is a well written and very interesting book.
Politico Magazine called it a bit thin in areas and I agree with that statement. Politico says that Michelle was a “woman who sparkled all her life, ascending to registers of success she anticipated in middle school, only to sideline her ambitions for her husband's” and that while the book touches on all of that, we never learn in the end “What she wants to be when she grows up.”
Oprah Winfrey added the book to her book club list. She called it a tour de force and I agree with that statement. Oprah said you will laugh and you will cry. I think you will.
Both Business Insider and The Atlantic say that Becoming “is on track to become the best-selling memoir of all time.” That, in my mind, is a high recommendation for a book.
If you need any more convincing, I note that 94 percent of reviewers on Amazon and 91 percent of readers on Goodreads gave the book 4 or 5 out of five stars. Those are amazing numbers.
I think Michelle Obama handled her life choices well at least as she reveals them in her book. Without having any way of knowing much about her life beyond what the media shares, I think that this book gives us as much a glimpse into her world as we will ever receive.
The New Yorker says that she has become one of the most popular Americans in history and I did not miss their reference to the fact that she has now had a “second coming, as an unprecedented, potentially billion-dollar American brand.” The Former President and First Lady reportedly were paid a whopping 65 million dollar advance for their memoirs. You can bet that we will be seeing Michelle Obama again and I look forward to following her continued life story.
Meanwhile, find your copy of Becoming competitively priced on Amazon by clicking right here.
At the book store!
Treasures By Brenda
Buy your copy of Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Amazon.
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