Book Review #11 - Becoming Michelle

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

There are certain books that read easy. They flow smooth, and you can tell that this is the combined work of a passionate writer and an incredibly good editor. There are 3 sections in the book; “Becoming Me” , “Becoming Us” and “Becoming More.

Michelle talks about her childhood, her teenage years, her parents, her time at Princeton, her experience in white dominated environments, her relationship with Barrack. Her journey to becoming a mother, her time at the White House, her process towards finding her voice as the very first Black first lady.

What i find particularly profound about this book, is how it very clearly takes us through Michelle Obama as a person and how you can see her experiences shape her personality. It puts a spotlight on who she was, not just as Obama’s wife. The completeness of her personality.

Though, granted - two out of three of the sections in the book has Barack’s hue all over it because of her time in the White House. This irritates me a little bit, but it gets me thinking, is there any escaping that if your husband is president of the United States?

Here are 6 quotes from this book i loved

1. On Failure:

Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It is vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear “

I relate to this quote so much, and i know it. It always starts from feeling inadequate, then it becomes a self perpetuating prophecy till you take hold of where it begins, in your head.

2. On Compassion and Empathy

Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance

This underscores to me the importance of compassion. Michelle’s deliberate compassion comes through strongly in her history. In the book, she comes across as acutely aware of her privilege and ensuring that as she progresses, she takes people along with her.

3. On Upbringing

“My parents talked to us like we were adults. They didn’t lecture, but rather indulged every question we asked, no matter how juvenile”

We are a summary of our experiences and Michelle’s parent’s influence in her life is evident all through her story. The sturdy belief in self, the standard of excellence, the family values, empathy and compassion. This gave Michelle and her brother, Craig room to fully grow into themselves, without the constant nudging of another to be who they wanted them to become.

4. On Marriage

I understand now that even a happy marriage can be a vexation, that its a contract best renewed and renewed again, even quietly and privately, even alone”

I imagine it must have been difficult for Michelle to be brutally honest about many things in this book, but this excerpt unpacks everything unreal about the romanticization of marriage. Not to say it shouldn’t be romantic, but when stripped bare, it is clear, it is a partnership of continuous choice.

5. On Distractions

The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people i know how figured out how to live with it. To lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals”

Have you read anything so apt?

I write about this here: Cancelling The Noise

6. On Self Awareness

“But Barack had arrived in my life a wholly formed person. From our very first conversation, he’d shown me that he wasn’t self-conscious about expressing fear or weakness and that he valued being truthful.”

A wholly formed person.

There is so much to the book than whatever review i write here, but this gives a good view into who Michelle is, and a good sense, of who she is evolving to be.

I will give it a 4.5 star

Related Post: Year of Yes, By Shonda Rhimes




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