August 2022 Book review

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Title – Becoming
Date of publication – November 13, 2018
Author – Michelle Obama
Genre – Memoir
Number of pages – 426 pages
Publisher – Crown Publishing Group
Website – joyezemonye.com
Instagram – joyezemonye_aude

SYNOPSIS

A #1 New York Bestseller and a NAACP Image award winner, Becoming is former First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama’s personal story about growing up with her parents and brother Fraser, Marian and Craig Robinson in a rented second-floor bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. The book details Mrs. Obama’s childhood, education, professional experience and journey to the White House, where she drew from her personal and professional experiences to impact her actions at the White House.

Mrs Obama rode out criticisms on her outspokenness and supposed lack of patriotism to talk about and tackle some of her country’s problems – racial and political divide, education for underprivileged girls, inadequate support for military spouses, rising childhood obesity, low voters’ mobilization, while raising two daughters, travelling the world, and believing that she was “good enough”, despite her butt even becoming the butt of a joke!

OUTLINE

The book’s Preface is a flashback to the author’s life on Chicago’s South Side and how her journey to the White House started, unfolded, and culminated in her new redbrick home.

Three major sections detail the author’s humble beginnings, education and legal practice in Becoming Me; her marriage, then switch to public service work, and motherhood in Becoming Us; and her family’s journey to and experiences in the White House in Becoming More.

The Epilogue is about her departure from the White House and farewells to staff, as well as thoughts that signal hope and optimism, if, as the author puts it, “…we invite one another in, begin to fear less, to make wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. [To] … better embrace the ways we are the same.”

CONCLUSION

I wish I had read Becoming earlier, not only for its take on the values of hard work and integrity, true friendships and relationships, processes and sometimes unexpectedly thrilling results, but also for its lessons about losses and gains, hurt and healing, and personal sacrifices and achievements.

Becoming is candid – exposing the pains of infertility, relatable – showing a working mother’s lunch break in her car, inspiring – because dreams do come true through hard work and planning. Also, the book is full of nuggets of wisdom – about the power of true friendships, the processes towards professional accomplishments, the truth about different ways of being, the value of work and integrity, love and support, personal sacrifices and delayed gratification, and remembering that social impact counts, be it through community-based work, public service, inclusive actions, support to the underprivileged and underrepresented, through mentoring and voters’ mobilization for the changes we dearly yearn.

Becoming is well-written, captivating, openly candid, tongue-in-the cheek witty, and deeply profound. It is a lengthy read as descriptive details could stall reading speed at the beginning of the book. However, the plot picks up as the author’s life takes on more interesting turns. In all, it is a book worth reading and is highly recommended to young people, older adults, and especially anyone aspiring to public office and impactful service to humanity.

Becoming is a treasure trove of life lessons and words of encouragement; it is a toast to valuable friendships, networks, and connections, and a poignant take on family and personal values. This book deserves to be part of your family’s heirloom.

Find out more about those “nuggets of wisdom” in 11 Life Lessons We Learned From Michelle Obama’s Becoming’ (essence.com)

#inspiration, #experience, #service

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