“A rich, entertaining and candid memoir. And overall Obama’s a fun person to sit alongside as she tells you the story of her life . . . it is as beautifully written as any piece of fiction”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Ex-First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama’s autobiography was the bestseller of 2018 and from reading it I can clearly see why. The story itself is broken up into three main sections and a final epilogue;
Becoming Me – tells the story of her childhood, growing up on the South Side of Chicago. While Michelle’s youth had some difficult times including her father’s health, she highlights all the opportunities she had from a young age which pushed her to succeed and become the person she is today. Her mother’s dedication, her grandfather’s love of music, her father’s determination, her brother’s protectiveness and all the other people in her life who were there for her in quiet, subtle ways.
Becoming Us – continues Michelle’s story through the beginning of her law career to meeting Barak Obama. Readers follow her as she begins to fall in love with this intriguing law student on a summer placement, while Michelle also begins to question her own career choices and struggles to decide what to do. Michelle is open and honest about the decisions she had to make about her career and about Barak’s traits, those that made her fall in love with him and those that annoyed her.
Becoming More – this chapter takes the reader into her husband’s presidency and her time as First Lady of the United States. The reader lives with Michelle and Barak through the highs of exciting political wins, country-changing initiatives run by the First Lady and once in a lifetime trips and meetings to the lows of hatred fuelled by racist stereotyping during her husband’s career and the heart-breaking news of school shootings. The way Michelle writes about these lows, in particular, school shootings and the murder of a girl from Chicago who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, is truly moving and tear-inducing.
While the whole book has an undertone that discusses race and prejudice in America, Becoming More shines a light of this racism in a more obvious way, discussing the hurtful ways in which Michelle was stereotyped as an ‘angry black women’ during her husband’s campaign for merely expressing passion and emotion.
Epilogue – this chapter brings us up to the end of Barak’s presidency as Michelle Obama lives through the heartbreak and confusion her own daughter Sasha, much of America, and even the wider world felt as the presidency was handed over to a leader driven by hatred.
An insightful, thoughtful, inspiring memoir, and a feminist must-read, from Michelle Obama, a Chicago born child who was thrown into the spotlight and uses her influential power to inspire and drive the American nation.
Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog
Added 29th January 2020