Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Memoirs are a favorite of mine, particularly ones written by strong females who have overcame some sort of injustice or hardship. Some of my all time favorite memoirs include, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Educated by Tara Westover, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Each of those books embodies the heart and soul of the woman who wrote it. After reading them, I was moved to tears and motivated beyond words. I felt an inspiration burning deep within me and that is exactly how I felt after finishing Michelle Obama's memoir, Becoming. Whether you voted for her husband, or disagreed with his decisions as president, Becoming is worth the read. It is much more than stories of the White House and life as the First Lady. It is about a little girl who came from humble beginnings, but used education and the support from her loved ones to propel herself into a life much beyond what she ever imagined she could achieve. It is a story of perseverance, working hard, and not taking anything for granted. I liked Michelle Obama before reading Becoming, but after finishing, I admire her even more and look up to her in a new light.
Michelle Obama's story is incredibly inspiring. The writing felt authentic and, having watched a speech or two from her, the words on the page felt straight from her mouth. Before she became Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, she was Michelle Robinson. She grew up on the southside of Chicago to a lower class, loving family that consisted of her parents, brother, and many extended relatives and friends that became family. She learned early on that life is what you make of it and she invested herself in her education. She knew that education was her ticket to a bigger world and she was right. She ultimately landed herself in Harvard and graduated with a law degree, working for a law firm in Chicago. From there, she met her soon to be husband, Barack Obama. Funny enough, he was interning there and she was his mentor. I loved reading about her and Barack's relationship. They are a true case of opposites attract and I find their relationship very endearing. Say what you will about their political stances, when you see a picture of Michelle and Barack Obama, you can see the love in their eyes and body language.
The parts of the book focused around their family life in the White House were captivating. It is easy to think of well known people as untouchable and feel like they are miles removed from our own lives, but they are people just like you and me. They have similar wants, needs, hopes, and dreams. Michelle strived to be a good mother and wife, while simultaneously handling the country's affairs with her husband. She wanted to make sure that their children, Malia and Sasha, had as normal an upbringing as possible and instill in them the values that she was surrounded by her in childhood. Something as simple as Malia meeting friends for ice cream was an escapade that involved atleast an hour notice from secret service so they could canvas the route, offer protection and surveillance. It is incredible to read how these two little girls grew up and how humble and, I hate to say it, "normal" they seem to be. I could relate to Michelle as a mother and it was amazing to read how she supported her children and husband, as their every move was watched, documented, and scrutinized. The amount of pressure on them was immense and it is hard to fathom. Yet, she showed resilience and handled herself with such grace, leaving a lasting impression on the nation.
As far as memoirs go, Becoming ranks up there with my favorites. I loved learning about her life, values, beliefs, and how she used all of that to influence the nation. She is truly inspirational and a woman who should be emulated. I gave Becoming by Michelle Obama ★★★★.5 and highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of your political affiliation. Michelle is more than a First Lady and is a strong female that we can all learn a thing or two from.
Do you enjoy reading memoirs? What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.