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Becoming


An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the ...
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Discuss Becoming by Michelle Obama:
What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

Created: 01/08/19

Replies: 7

Posted Jan. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?


Posted Jan. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 112

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

I think both Barack and Michelle Obama are highly relatable. Meanwhile, I smile as I type this because on the surface, I have so little in common with them: different race, different growing up location, different education. Yet, when it comes down to Michelle Obama's family life, I might have been reading a chapter from my own story - at least before many other siblings were born. This foundation grounded Obama so that down the road, she was not so easily swayed by things that could easily turn someone else's head. She is a hard worker and values her family above all else. I think many of us could say the same.


Posted Jan. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorianbc

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 33

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

The parallels I see between my upbringing and Mrs. Obama's are that I also had extremely supportive parents and extended family members. They provided a strong expectation of not only the importance of striving for knowledge, but also the importance of taking care of each other as human beings.


Posted Jan. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 403

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

There were many parallels between Mrs. Obama's life and my own, in that we both grew up with very limited means but within a loving, supportive family. My dad, like Mrs. Obama's, worked very hard throughout his life and never EVER missed work. My grandparents were heavily involved in my upbringing, particularly while my mom was working, trying to make ends meet & provide for us kids. They taught my sister and me to be thoughtful, polite, moral people, and made sure we had a wide variety of experiences (music lessons, sports, etc.) even though there wasn't a lot of money for extras in our household. Sometimes I wonder about the person I've become, but when I look at my younger sister and her beautiful children, I know my parents and grandparents did a great job, since I see their values reflected in that younger generation.


Posted Jan. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LWReads

Join Date: 08/09/18

Posts: 12

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

I grew up south of Chicago, also, but in a mostly white suburban/rural area that was quite different from her experience. Even so, I felt a geographic connection to her throughout the early chapters of the book and found myself watching for familiar landmarks. At one point in the book, she visits a town where we often shopped and where my brother lived for a while. The contrast of experience was quite striking - what was to us a pretty safe place is where her dad’s car was deliberately scratched and her family felt unwelcome.

I think because of the geographic proximity and looking for commonalities in that sense, I also found myself struggling to orient myself in time in relation to her story. Because she has been First Lady, I think of her as someone older and wiser than myself when in fact she’s a number of years younger. All of the experiences she had were during my lifetime and not all that far away from me.


Posted Jan. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
valeriem

Join Date: 10/09/18

Posts: 2

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

I was born in Chicago 23 months before Michelle Robinson, in the same hospital. My family lived on the Southside while the Robinson's lived in South Shore. Although my family had more financial luxuries than the Robinsons, the bottom line was the same. Loving parents are privilege too. Extended family that had something to say about everything. Music as the family and tribal culture, the link between then and now.
"Becoming" only illustrated and highlighted- and in a way rubber stamped- how certain black children of a certain generation were raised. Children were expected to achieve and extended family such as cousins, aunts and uncles were part of the symbiotic raising children experience. It was my life story too. It was surreal reading it because many of Michelle's experiences I shared even though I left Chicago when I was 8 years old. Reading the book was reading about myself and it made me think about being a black girl in a city that can be so involved and so abnormally detached.
In the passage where she talked about neighborhood girls she was trying to befriend and they said to her "you talk white". That was me too. Going to a "better" school out of her neighborhood. That was me. Trying to navigate the world and be someone totally different than her mother and then adopting her mother's habits and rituals while pretending her mother was out of touch; I could relate.
One of my favorite lines in the book is when Marian Robinson tells her children, "we are raising adults, not children." It was how my mother and aunts and grandmother looked at raising children. You are children for 18 years. You are adults for 65 years. Adulthood is what you have to get right.
I found myself reading a chapter and then staring out the window as if the glass was a portal to the past. I remembered the day I left Chicago for Los Angeles and was so terribly sad because I was leaving everything. "Becoming" reintroduced me to that which was gone. Without realizing it, I missed a part of my childhood I no longer thought of, not because there was trauma but just because so much other stuff came after and it just got pushed aside.


Posted Jan. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pate

Join Date: 03/15/13

Posts: 36

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

I grew up in a middle class neighborhood, although my home was in New York. Like Michelle, I had supportive parents and a strong network of immediate and extended family. Like her parents, my parents had a strong work ethic which they instilled in my siblings(3) and me.


Posted Jan. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jamiek

Join Date: 11/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: What parallels did you see, if any, between your upbringing and Mrs. Obama's?

I had little in common with Michelle's upbringing, but when I read the part about the girl asking her why she didn't talk like she did, I remembered as a young kid growing up in New York, my mother was aghast when I asked, "What toime is it?" She would then cringe and not so gently correct me to "What time is it?" We moved to California when I was 9, and that was the end of my New York accent. Looking back, I am glad my mother corrected my speech and reading the book makes me realize just how many people judge you by the way you talk.


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