They say behind every successful man there is a woman (so is his downfall!). This woman that I’m reading about is successful in her own rights but faced many of the same dilemma women with children often feel, between their career and family, between self-fulfilment and also fulfilling the duty and love to their children. Except Michelle Obama, born Robinson, was born not with a silver spoon nor a head start in life, but was born into the impoverished South Side of Chicago. She held on to her ambition and dream, with the support of her parents, mentors and husband, emerged at the pinnacle of the eyes of the world as the First Lady of the United State (FLOTUS).
I love reading about Michelle’s early start in life. She lived in 2-room flat on top of her aunt’s house, sharing a room with her brother Craig. Early exposure to piano and the insistent of her mother Marian to move her from a class with disruptive children to a class for the gifted; catapulted her to Princeton and Harvard Law School, showing up in places where she feels out of place, often the only African American and the only woman and at 5’ 11’’. She shared candidly about the boys she kissed, the friends she had and the disgruntlement that she felt with Barack.
Michelle writes very well. With razor sharp and short sentences, she writes honestly about her life, her family, joy, hopes and all her doubts and insecurities; she talks about race and politics. She shared snippets of Obama we never knew. He reads a lot and not always organised with his time. He is calm amidst every world problem he had to solve.
I am surprised to know that Barack was an intern in the law firm that Michelle work and Michelle was responsible for showing him around the law firm the first day they met. I read with respect that they gave up their jobs with half the salary cut to work for the public sector and to serve. We took for granted that they are always together, in fact throughout the years when Barack was a president, the girls grew up without seeing their father much. The president has 20 cars motorcade that followed his coming and going, he couldn’t see his daughters off to school nor watch a play or take his wife for a date without creating work for security and traffic clearance. Neither of them could leave the White House and go to their lawn without their Security men following each of them, every dress and gesture she did was observed by the public and could be maliciously interpreted in the media etc. We see so much glamour of the First couple of America, yet we do not see the sacrifices they have made in their personal lives.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieve a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, away to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end…. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.”
For a woman who could have shined on her own but instead has stepped back and let her husband shine instead, she is so much more than the wife of Barack Obama and the First Lady. She is Michelle Obama.
If you want to read an autobiography this year, let it be this one.
The no. 1 best selling book of 2018. https://youtu.be/jXwaQXquA7E
Publisher: Viking (13 Nov. 2018); Length: 400 pages; Setting: Non-fiction Source: Own copy. Finished reading on: 16th Feb 2019, Saturday.