Becoming by Michelle Obama
Published: November 13th 2018 by Crown
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Audiobook
Having only observed the Obama presidency from a distance and not being too familiar with all things Obama I honestly don’t know what I expected when I pre-ordered this on audible. I had only seen Michelle Obama doing push-ups on “ellen”, riding carpool with James Corden and standing next to the president on CNN. My overall feeling was that I liked her, so I wanted to read it. Usually I prefer reading the book, but when I saw that the audible was read by Michelle Obama herself I thought there might be value in hearing her story in her words and her own voice; and I was right.
Michelle (I’m going to call her by her first name now, cause after having her tell me her story for 20+ hours I feel that we’re friends) is a down to earth woman after my own heart. She tells the story of her childhood so earnestly, like she knows and understands how important upbringing is and the things we teach, tell and show our younger ones.
I’d been lucky to have parents, teachers, and mentors who’d fed me with a consistent, simple message: You matter. As an adult, I wanted to pass those words to a new generation.
She admits where her memories are strong and where they falter, and I love this. It is so human to forget the details, and still remember the feeling. And Michelle is not afraid to admit that she is human, like that time she touched the Queen of England, which might be one of my favorite anecdotes from the book. She had laid her hand on the Queen, which goes against all royal protocol and the press had a field day! But she writes:
If I hadn’t done the proper thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing” and that response should bring us all off our high horses.
The book isn’t about politics, it’s about life, constantly moving, up and down, back and forth, learning and evolving. And Michelle said it best herself:
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
And that is just what this book is about, one woman’s journey to becoming a better self everyday, and what stories she has! Happy at times and difficult at others, extraordinary stories both good and bad, sometimes heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking. I laughed. I cried. I gasped. I nodded my head in agreement. These may not be stories we all can experience, but in some way they are stories we can all relate to. She can tell a story of the most terrifying experience, and still she can comfort you with her strength and humanity. That is a gift to be able to do. And if my memories of this book will be consigned to oblivion, I will still never forget how it made me feel: hopeful and at peace.