Michelle Obama turned 58 on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, which happens to be the day I’m writing this review. According to a recent 2019 Gallup poll, Obama is the “most admired woman” in the world.
“Becoming” is a wonderful book that should be read by people from different age groups and backgrounds. This book is beautifully written and is filled with life lessons. Some parts are incredibly heavy and other parts are fun and light.
One of the best parts about this memoir is that it’s more about how she became who she is and not just a book about her years in The White House. She still covers that part of her life, but it’s important for readers to understand that she didn’t just become the person she is now out of nowhere.
The sleeve of the hardcover book reads, “An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of The United States.” This memoir truly is intimate, powerful and inspiring.
It’s intimate when she describes growing up on Chicago’s Southside, with parents who didn’t have much in the way of money but gave her and her brother a foundation of love and support. It’s powerful when she describes attending the funeral of a girl shot in Chicago in the morning and later that day arriving back at The White House to witness a massive celebration of marriage equality.
There are so many ways that this book is inspiring. Obama attended Princeton and Harvard Law School. During her time as First Lady, she worked hard for military families and to provide healthy eating options for our youth. Throughout her entire life and her work as First Lady, Obama didn’t allow criticism to stop her from achieving what she set out to do. Having both grace and wit through the challenges she faced is inspiring and shows us that we should never give up - no matter how harsh and low one’s critics can go.
One of my biggest takeaways from this memoir is that it’s about the journey and not the destination. This is both a hard pill to swallow and also incredibly liberating. After taking a long break from college, I decided to come back and finish my degree. It would be easy for me to have regrets about past classes I have taken that don’t count towards my degree or wonder why I even left Eastern 10 years ago to go to Columbia College Chicago - and then to return back to Eastern. I’m learning to not have regrets and that it’s more about my journey and the person I’m becoming.
I add this personal note because as college students, most of us hate taking an extra class - or we just feel lost. I’m here to say that I’m glad I met the friends I did in Chicago and I’m glad for the extra classes, because it’s helping me now. I’m also glad to be back at Eastern meeting new people.
Obama ends the memoir with, “This, for me, is how we become.” The book isn’t called “Become” but “Becoming.” So let’s remember - she is now the Michelle Obama we see, but it took a journey to get there and her journey isn’t finished yet.