BECOMING

Author: Michelle Obama

Total pages: 426

Total approximate words: 1,77,000


For my 29th birthday (I am actually older than that), all I wanted was a book, a painting stand, and some quiet time with my love, in our cozy one bedroom in the suburbs of Dubai. And that’s exactly what I did. Except that instead of just one book, I got two books as present. My ‘Narcos’ fever was still high, so I knew I wanted Virginia Vallejo’s memoir and the second book was my husband going the extra mile to please me. He got me another memoir. Just a year after my husband gifted me the memoir, the author launched a Netflix documentary on her book. It was called ‘BECOMING’, and I was grinning like a little girl, watching this power house of a lady, that is Michelle Obama, talk and share and sign and travel to inspire millions, if not billions.

I also got a lovely IKEA painting stand, and a beautiful quiet night with my love, along with some wine, pizza, and a movie marathon.


Can a first family be this cute? Apparently, they can!

SYNOPSIS


I am not going to even attempt to write a brief about Michelle’s life here, because she has done it incredibly well, in the BECOMING. It is of course, a full-blown memoir, with Michelle detailing every little detail of her childhood; from growing up in a shared apartment with her aunt in a black neighborhood, in the south side of Chicago, to her large extended family and their past as victims of racial discrimination. Her college days in Princeton and then the journey of gradual shift from being a corporate lawyer to being a more meaningful contributor for the society, especially for the black society. The stories about meeting her husband Barack for the first time, and their blissful romance, eventually turning into a marriage. About the family’s reaction on Barack running for the president and then ultimately winning it for two consecutive terms. The stories of the White House and its many rooms, and staffs, and the gardens. The many trips to meet the underprivileged, war victims, and the victims of the gun violence. About Michelle’s mother and father and her brother, and their stories in her life and in shaping her into becoming.

The book is an amalgamation of the many heart-warming, inspiring, intimate, eye opening, and amazing stories of this legendary woman.



Lines that made so much sense, and made me an even bigger admirer of this powerful woman, Michelle Obama:


“Now, I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”


“My mom found ways to compensate. She did her own nails, dyed her own hair, and got new clothes only when dad bought them for her as a birthday gift. She’d never be rich, but she was always crafty.”


“Her goal was to push us out into the world. ‘I am not raising babies’, she’d tell us. ‘I am raising adults.’ She and my dad offered guidelines rather than rules. It meant that as teenagers we’d never have a curfew. Instead, they’d ask, ‘What’s a reasonable time for you to be home?’ and then trust us to stick to our word.”


“I hated being a lawyer. I wasn’t suited to the work. I felt empty doing it, even if I was plenty good at it. This was a distressing thing to admit, given how hard I’d worked and how in debt I was. In my blinding drive to excel, in my need to do things perfectly, I’d missed the signs and taken the wrong road.”


“I was deeply, delightfully in love with a guy whose forceful intellect and ambition could possibly end up swallowing mine. I saw it coming already, like a barreling wave with a mighty under tow. I wasn’t going to get out of its path—I was too committed to Barack by then, too in love— but I did need to quickly anchor myself on two feet.”


“What happens when a solitude loving individualist marries an outgoing family woman who does not love solitude one bit? You find ways to adapt. If you’re in it forever, there’s really no choice.”


“It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centred and also unaccommodating to any form of old school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.”


“There are portraits of me and Barack now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, a fact that humbles us both. I doubt that anyone looking at our childhoods, our circumstances, would ever have predicted we’d land in those halls.”




A few interesting pictures from the book


CONCLUSION


This memoir, is undoubtedly one of my favorites. Michelle Obama, being such a huge public figure, gives a very detailed and humble perspective of her life to the readers. The stories shared are so personal that as if Michelle takes herself off the pedestal that the world has put her on, and let everyone see her from a brand-new outlook, as if, I dare say, she is one of us! Or at least she was, till she became the 44th first lady of U.S.A. Reading the book is almost like reading a journal, of an extremely modest, down to earth, over achiever. The book rightfully justifies how a memoir should be, personal and relatable. This book is one of those books that every living human being should read at least once in their life time, irrespective of anything. Like even if you are one of those rare ones, who reads one book in ten years, this is the book you should pick up. This book is a bang on 10/10.

Pro tip: Read ‘Dreams from my Father’ by Barack Obama, and then read ‘Becoming’. It is almost like reading the same love story, but from two different sides, Barack and Michelle.


Ratings:

Ease of reading: 10/10

Writing style (to keep the reader engaged): 10/10

Resonating to the reader (moving, and relatable): 10/10

Do let me know your opinion about this brilliantly written book through an email or post it in the comments section. Best five responses will be featured in the website.

Happy reading!





DISCLAIMER

This review is based on my personal reading of the book and understanding it with my own limited experiences. This review is just a singular perspective and not the only one.







48 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All