In Becoming, Michelle Robinson Obama narrates her life from childhood through her time in the White House as First Lady. She describes her experience growing up on the south side of Chicago, going to law school, her work as a lawyer then her journey to finding more meaningful work, and of course, how her life changed when she met Barack Obama.
I’ll admit—I didn’t know much about Michelle Obama going into this book, just what I had seen during the eight years her husband was in office. To tell you the truth, politics exhausts me a lot of the time (it’s the main reason I haven’t used Facebook since 2015). I don’t relish deep dives into political theory, though I do my best to stay informed. Still, despite my hesitance to read this, I knew I wanted to, because I’ve long admired this woman. And I’m so glad I did read this for Black History Month, because I loved it!
Michelle Obama crafts an engaging narrative, tracing her roots back to her family in Chicago and how her outlook on life was shaped by those closest to her. Watching her succeed academically is so satisfying, and conversely watching her struggle to find a career path she feels passionate about is heart-wrenching. Then, when she meets a young lawyer named Barack, I’ll admit I got quite giddy (it’s like watching a film you’ve seen before, knowing two people end up together before they have any idea).
Seeing her relationship with Barack grow and evolve, seeing how parenthood comes so naturally to her, seeing her doubts as her husband becomes more involved in politics all serve to humanize this woman who’s become a national symbol. She’s like so many of us, in so many ways. Even if your political beliefs differ from hers, there is a lot to learn and analyze in this book, and it is well worth a read.
I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Obama herself, and she does a fantastic job. She’s funny and witty and serious in turns; her voice is full of personality and helps bring this story even more to life. If you like audiobooks, I definitely recommend this one!
In the end, Michelle Obama’s biography Becoming is a fascinating look at the life of one of the most famous people alive today. Obama crafts a wonderful story of a woman seeking to make the world better as best she can, and you’ll be thinking about this book long after you finish.
Overall rating: 9/10