Narrator: Michelle Obama
Published by Random House Audio on November 13, 2018
Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir
Length: 19 hrs 3 mins
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In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
In Becoming, Michelle Obama tells her story. She talks about growing up poor in Southside Chicago. She talks about the love of her family, the value they placed on hard work and education. She discusses her career, the right path she started on and the twists and turns it took. She talks about meeting Barack, their early marriage, and how they function as a couple. Of course, she eventually gets around to the presidential campaign and their time in the White House, but she (mostly) stays with her point of view, her difficulties, and her initiatives. She also touches on her difficulties with putting her career on hold to support her husband’s career and how unfair things could feel. She talks about the difficulties of raising two girls, the tightrope of keeping them safe but allowing them to have “normal” childhoods and teen years, of appreciating the luxuries they have but still being grounded in “regular” life.
Michelle Obama is very open in Becoming. She talks about race and religion, but she makes it clear it’s from her point of view. She shows us how she experiences the world and brings up good points. She reminds us of how the media sometimes portrayed versus how she really was or what she was trying to communicate, that sometimes things can be taken out of context.
I found myself truly liking Michelle Obama. I realize that she chooses what to put in her book, but she seems honest and warm. She’s a hard worker and truly cares about the causes she champions. She knows her strengths – and her weaknesses. She made me laugh and cry and think about what matters to me.
I listened to the audio version read by Michelle herself. Apparently it won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album. She does a fabulous job, but I don’t know how she got through some of the sadder parts.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: