Monthly favourite: January

Becoming by Michelle Obama – or Becoming Michelle Obama depending on how you look at it – has been on my radar since about April 2018 when I heard that she would be releasing an autobiography.

I then moved to Luxembourg, where I’ve had to stop buying books because of the prices. (Trust me, it’s expensive here!)

So, when my sister bought it for me as a Christmas present, I was overjoyed.

Michelle Obama has always been a well-respected figure, someone that women young and old admire and it comes as no surprise that her book seems to have been flying off the shelves – and rightly so. It’s FANTASTIC.

To uncover the story of her life from beginning to now, was an absolute pleasure. From a sassy young girl to an accomplished lawyer in a firm in Chicago where she met Barack, to the First Lady of the United States that we all know and love, this book seems to be part memoir and almost part fiction, for Michelle has such a natural, literary style of writing, that you forget you are reading an autobiography at times.

Barack had told me, he’d contended most often with a deep weariness in people – especially black people – a cynicism bred from a thousand small disappointments over time. I understood it. I’d seen it in my own neighbourhood, in my own family. A bitterness a lapse in faith. It lived in both my grandfathers, spawned by every goal they’d abandoned and every compromise they’d had to make. It was inside the harried second-grade teacher who’d basically given up trying to teach us at Bryn Mawr. It was inside the neighbour who’d stopped mowing her lawn or keeping track of where her kids went after school. It lived in every piece of trash tossed carelessly in the grass at our local park and every ounce of malt liquor drained before dark. It lived in every last thing we deemed unfixable, including ourselves.

Michelle Obama, Becoming

I was surprised by her honesty – admitting to smoking ‘pot’ in an ex-boyfriend’s car and giving her opinions on the current President of the United States. I was sympathetic to the demands of her job in following the previous First Ladies and as a black person in America. I was empathetic of her struggles as a woman, but mostly I was in awe of the grace and humility with which she has dealt with all of these challenges throughout her life.

I normally steer clear of autobiographies unless there is a story to tell, but I can say for certainty in this case, that it is well worth a read if you are even a little bit curious about life inside the White House or about Michelle as a person.

Needless to say, after reading Becoming, I am even more of a fan of hers and were she to run for President (not that she appears to want to), I would be an avid supporter.

Rating: *****