Monthly Book Club: ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama

I took my time with getting to Michelle Obama’s book, mainly because I found her husband’s books a little hard to get through. And also, because this book is selling for a consistently high price for a person who likes to spend pennies, not pounds. Having now read it, I can safely say that it’s enjoyable enough to warrant the steady price tag.

What’s in the book

24 chapters of ordinary life turning extraordinary. The book is divided into three sections: becoming Me, Becoming Us and Becoming More and as you could guess from the title is anchored around the life and adventures of Michelle Obama. And I say adventures, but what I really mean is life, mixed with a dose of self-discovery, interesting anecdotes and candid moments. The book is narrated in a friendly way and it does feel as if Michelle is telling the story directly to you, the reader, in a most personable and open way, but without going down to unnecessarily intimate detail.

Becoming Me section (chapters 1-8) are covering Michelle’s story up until the point of getting into a serious relationship with Barak. This includes her immediate and extended family, her background and an interesting, but not jarring look at what racism meant and means to children growing up with quickly changing racial demographics. Michelle also tells her story of her education, reasons for determination to succeed and something which most straight As kids experience – tunnel vision.

Becoming Us centres on Michelle’s relationship with Barak and the challenges of being a professionally active, driven woman of a man who has more work to do than he has time in the day. They are a modern couple, a loving couple, definitely not a perfect couple. Rather than focusing on the marital problems, Michelle focuses on the goals and supporting her spouse without loosing herself in the process. She also shares her perspective on the fertility and childbearing challenges and rewards, as a woman suffered a miscarriage, and who gave birth to two IVF babies.

Becoming More is becoming the White House couple. I’ll just say it – presidential campaigns sound horrendous and it’s not an experience I’d wish on any of my friends unless they want to commit every waking hour to trying to make the world a better place, in a big way. And let’s face it, I’m a millennial butterfly and so are my friends, drawing the line on using metal straws instead of plastic in our grapefruit G&Ts.

The best part

Michelle Obama has managed to write a book about an extraordinary life in a beautiful, ordinary way. There is no bragging, there is no unnecessary glitz. It’s just a well written story of a woman walking through life directly into unusual circumstances, a woman finding her voice, trying to stay grounded and navigating through challenges. It’s also a story or a mother, a daughter, a spouse and a human being. My favourite part of the book is the womanly camaraderie aspect of Michelle’s life. She focuses on the value of true friendships, respect and being there for one another and I find the message powerful.

Who should read this

Women. Men. People curious about the White House living and the non-political aspects of politics. Also, anybody going on holiday, it’s a genuinely good read.

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