BookBrowse Reviews Becoming by Michelle Obama

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by Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama X
Becoming by Michelle Obama
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2018, 400 pages

    Mar 2021, 464 pages


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Former First Lady Michelle Obama offers insight into her life and mind, discussing her education and career, motherhood, and maintaining decorum during politically divisive times.

Voted 2019 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

BookBrowse hosted a Book Club discussion early in 2019 about Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming, and participants overwhelmingly expressed their appreciation for the book. Here are some highlights from that discussion.

What it's about:
In Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama narrates her life story, from her upbringing in South Side Chicago, to her education at Princeton and Harvard, to meeting and marrying President Barack Obama. She further narrates the Obamas' eight years in the White House, explaining how she managed to juggle raising children with affairs of state, while also keeping her trademark composure and positive attitude in the face of criticism.

Many Book Club participants admired Mrs. Obama's honesty and candor:
Her decision to take a different path was inspiring, and she made some difficult choices. It's not easy to walk away from expectations that others have for you. Her honesty throughout the book was very refreshing (Auntie Mame). I was surprised when I got insight into their personal life issues and problems, such as marital difficulties. I feel many normal couples go through these things and they are very relatable (theavidbookerfly). It surprised me when she admitted she disliked being a lawyer, and I admired her courage to switch her "horizons" to working with the people. Her involvement with Public Allies impressed me. She utilized her inherent talents and expanded those assets with future projects, always with the idea of 'uplifting' people to believe in themselves (kathrynb). I found her memoir astounding. She writes with such honesty, passion and love. She recalls her feelings about her miscarriage, the deaths of her father and her friend Suzanne, and the difficulties in her marriage. She is also very funny and clear-eyed about trying to find a balance between career and motherhood (barbarae).

Readers also thought the former First Lady was a remarkably good writer:
I guess it's no surprise that someone who excelled in academics and in life is so skilled with the written word. Becoming was informative without being stuffy, casual without being chatty and so well-crafted overall (paulak). Michelle has always been one of my favorite First Ladies and now I feel I know her even better. The book is very well written and I felt like I was right in the moment with her and her girls (RuthEh).

Many commenters felt like Becoming helped them get to know Mrs. Obama on a personal level:
By the time I finished the book I felt as if I had just had a wonderful conversation with a friend (PTK). I really enjoyed it. She writes very well. She is very honest about her life and her family. It was like having a chat with a friend (karenrn). I felt I really got to know what kind of person Michelle was/is beyond her public life and image, and I found a woman who, like all of us, has had her share of ups and downs in life. She has shown us that "becoming" is always a work in progress (pate). I thoroughly enjoyed her story and the way she expressed it. I feel like I have gotten a wonderful glimpse into her life and it left me wanting to know what she is planning to do next. After reading Becoming, there's one thing I do know—she is definitely someone I would love to hang out and share ideas with (jamiek).

Overall, readers were very enthusiastic:
I could not have loved this book more than I did. It was presented in such a way that when I was finished, I felt I had full knowledge of what made Michelle tick (Carol R).  It was like meeting a new friend and over time getting to know her through revelations of the stages of her life. It was easy and still thought-provoking (katherinep). I love Michelle Obama and I loved her book. She is a class act and it came through in her writing (djn). I found her memoir astounding. She writes with such honesty, passion, and love (barbarae). This is a fabulous, informative and uplifting book. I always had a good impression of Michelle Obama and this book enhanced it. I felt that Michelle really shared herself with her readers and offered an intimate look at her life (Lois I).

This review first ran in the December 4, 2019 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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