I cannot recommend this book enough.
Michelle is an absolute icon in her own right, but there are so many things the general public doesn't know about her, and so many things that go underappreciated. She even touches on it in the memoir- sometimes news articles would mention that she was "Harvard-educated", but other than that, she was reduced to "Barack Obama's wife". This page-turner follows Michelle from her humble South Side of Chicago beginnings all the way through the day they left the White House for the last time.
In-between those landmark moments, Michelle unpretentiously describes how she used education, love, and hope to blossom from an anonymous black girl in a big city to a beacon of hope for women, children, and the black community not only in the nation she served as the First Lady, but on a global scale.
I have always liked Michelle Obama- I think, like many do, that she made the first family and politics seem a lot more relatable and reachable- they weren't above us, they were one of us. Whether people saw the side of Michelle that loved children and worked hard to improve America on her own agenda, or people viewed her as an "angry black woman" and couldn't stand the sight of someone in one of the most repressed groups in the nation have one of the most powerful voices in the nation, everyone knew that she was a shining and driving force in our country.
Becoming, however, takes us into those intimate moments that I'm sure she couldn't have shown in her White House residency. She talks about facing your child's first fever and the fears that all new parents have, she opens the doors into how you have to work twice as hard to get anywhere when you're black, or a woman, let alone both, and the criticism one faces just for being born into one of these groups. She earnestly writes about her dislike for politics, and her reservations regarding Barack even running for President. Most relatable to me, she mulls over the difficulty of finding your own path in life, and the struggle to define yourself when you're surrounded by equally empowered people, how she chose what sacrifices to make and which ones she wouldn't give up on to strike a balance between Barack's political career, her family, and her own ambitions.
Throughout the book I felt Michelle was more humanized than ever. We see glimpses of her most powerful achievements and times when she couldn't hold it together any longer. She teaches us that even someone as powerful as the FLOTUS is still human. Regardless of if you're a child in an underfunded elementary school, a paralyzed combat veteran, or quite possibly the most powerful man in the world, through education and optimism, she advocates, we can inspire others and work together to make a change.
I don't think I could have chosen a better time to read this book. This moment in US history, in my personal history, is filled with uncertainty, filled with social justice movements, filled with fear at the current state of our nation, filled with concern for what the next step might be. What Michelle taught me is how to make the best of what you're given, how to always strive for more and strive for better, how to love thy neighbor, and most relevant to my life, how to prioritize your ambitions and never lose sight of your dreams or what makes you you.
Thank you, Michelle.