This is an amazing book, an amazing story, and an amazing person. This is stuff feel-good movies are made of.
Like any normal biography, it starts with where Michelle Obama was born, her family life, formative years, schooling, parents, her brother and growing up in Chicago, the South Side as she would always say in the book.
I have learned so many things about Michelle, stuff I didn’t know about her, that she has a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Princeton University and did law at Harvard University. She is a qualified lawyer, that at some point she was assigned to mentor Barack, when he joined their law firm. So she was Barack’s boss :).
She doesn’t like politics, because she believes it is a dirty game, and I share her sentiments. She categorically states in the book that she is not interested in running to be POTUS [President of the United States].
She shares how she met Barack, how they fell in love, and she spends some time discussing their relationship, how the learned how to fight, she is an emotional one, and Barack is the irrational one.
At their Chicago law firm, Michelle initially appraises him an “exotic geek”, then more politely reclassifies him as a unicorn.
On their first date, he wears a white linen blazer that resembles a cast-off from Miami Vice. “Ah well,” she reflects. He also smokes, which disgusts her. All is forgiven, thanks to his “noble heart” and his encyclopaedic head.
And then she talks about becoming the various political campaigns that Barack ran as part of becoming a political figure. She talks about how he ascended to power, she talks about
She is a family person, she has strong family values, and her fear about Barack running for office was how it will affect the family.
She talks about her two daughter, Malia and Sasha with fondness and how Barack and her initially struggled to have babies.
What is clear from this book is that Michelle was the most active FLOTUS [First Lady of The United States].
She takes us into the White House, basically living in the White House is like staying at an executive hotel, except that you are the only guests, there are not other guests. Their food and laundry and other things are catered for, but if they have guests, like family and friends in the White House, they have to pay for their food.
She shares the security detail, and how they were so protected, their every move is watched by the secret service.
She shares lessons she learned about the USA, her husband during his presidency, without and with power, about USA politics, about race, about patriarchy, about political campaigns, about diplomacy.
During a visit to the Queen of England, she didn’t know that no one is supposed to touch the Queen, except the normal handshake, while she was getting friendly and comfortable with the Queen, she touched the Queen, and this made newspaper headlines.
With honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it, in her own words and on her own terms.
Well written, extremely well written. Michelle Obama is a courageous lady, she is a fighter, she as she says is from the South Side, as if to say I survived the toughest part of Chicago.
Michelle Obama’s wit and warmth shine through in an extraordinarily candid account of her life inside and outside the White House.
Warm, wise, and revelatory, the book is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance.
Becoming is frequently funny, sometimes indignant or enraged, and when Michelle describes her father’s early death from multiple sclerosis it turns rawly emotional.
Yes the book is long, but well-written, captivating and remarkably gives you what warm fuzzy feeling.
“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child: What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
- “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”
- “For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
“Failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result.”
- “Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses… swapped back and forth and over again.”
- “Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave to other people.”
“His money went largely toward books, which to him were like sacred objects, providing ballast for his mind.”
- “Hearing them, I realized that they weren’t at all smarter than the rest of us. They were simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority, buoyed by the fact that history had never told them anything different.”
- “This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time.”
- “and found myself suddenly gripped by doubt. Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself many times now, through many climbs. Am I good enough? Yes I am.”
- “I flew home propelled by that spirit. Life was teaching me that progress and change happen slowly. Not in two years, four years, or even a lifetime. We were planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We had to be patient.
- “I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.”
“Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an “angry black woman.” I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most: is it “angry” or “black” or “woman”?”