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Author / Writer Spotlight, Non Fiction

Becoming by Michelle Obama

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.

Rating: 5/5

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.


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


5 thoughts on “Becoming by Michelle Obama

  1. I have to say this book exceeded my expectations from a autobiography of the First Lady (probably being a shadow of the President). I thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up Dreams From My Father next.

    Posted by Marvin Lee | November 23, 2019, 12:25 pm
    • Oh My Goodness Marvin!! You are still here after all these years? How are you? 🙂 It was one of the BEST biographies I have ever read and with so many books at home, I’m still wishing to own this one. I have read the Dreams from My Father when it came out but I relate more to Michelle. I need to correct the perception that she is a shadow of Obama because she has all the right assets (brain, experience and attitude) to be where she is today. She may not want to be in the White House, but she is certainly making an impact in the social scene and a celebrity of an author and also being nominated at the Grammy’s for lending her audio in the audio book. She is not a shadow, she is a bright spark just hiding hers while she let her husband shines. It’s her time to shine now.

      Posted by JoV | November 23, 2019, 10:38 pm
    • Here’s my review on the Dreams from My Father. https://bibliojunkie.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/dreams-from-my-father-by-barack-obama/ Both of them are extraordinary couple.

      Posted by JoV | November 23, 2019, 10:42 pm
  2. I can’t agree with you more Jov which is why I’m so glad I read her biography. Yeah I’m still lurking around. I’m fine and getting back to more reading these days too. 😉

    Posted by Marvin Lee | November 23, 2019, 11:29 pm
    • Good on you Marvin. It’s a phase of life. I’m trying to cut down screen time, stay away from social media / whatsapp and start reading more. Having said that I am still reading less than what I used to but there are many non-fiction books are on my radar now so I hope you stay around, you would be interested to hear some of the non-fiction books I have on my shelf. Yes, I never stop acquiring books. *face palm

      Posted by JoV | November 23, 2019, 11:35 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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