“Becoming” by Michelle Obama

When my eyes stumbled upon “Becoming” by Michelle Obama in one of the bookstores shortly before Christmas, I thought to myself that it would be an interesting book to read. Peeking behind the scenes of the life of the First Lady of the USA sounded intriguing and exciting. A month later on the plane to Martinique, I flipped through the last pages of the book feeling bitter that it was over – I have not enjoyed a book that much in a long time.

“Becoming” is an autobiography of Michelle Obama that takes the reader through her childhood, her marriage, her struggles as a young and working mum and her journey as the First Lady of the United States of America. Her writing style is easy to follow – I loved the clarity and the passion with which she speaks to her audience, especially about the issues that are dear to her. I think the book would be interesting for anyone to read – at least out of curiosity of how the life of the United States first family is like behind the scenes.

Indeed, that was the reason why I have picked up the book in the first place. But it turned out to be much more. What I especially loved about Michelle Obama’s biography is that she was extremely relatable. She candidly talked about working as a lawyer in one of the top Chicago firms and realizing that although making a good living, she was not feeling fulfilled and contributing to society much. How she felt scared to make a leap into something else, how she was shy and a bit timid to go out with Barack Obama back before they became one of the most famous couples in the world, how she struggled as a wife of always working husband who spent many days in the Senate far from home and what effect she felt it was having on her family, how she worried through the disease of her father – all these human moments, moments of emotion, doubt, feelings showed me that Michelle Obama, in fact, was just like any other human. And I loved it because I could relate to many of those struggles.

The book also ties into many cultural and equality issues in the United States. Although I do not have a lot of American cultural background, one of her quotes stood out to me especially strongly because it can be applied to any kind of unfairness or the feeling of self-worth:

“I tried to communicate the one message about myself and my station in the world that I felt might really mean something. Which was that I knew invisibility. I’d lived invisibility. I came from a history of invisibility. I liked to mention that I was the great-great-granddaughter of a slave named Jim Robbinson, who was probably buried in an unmarked grave somewhere on a South Carolina plantation. And in standing at a lectern in front of students who were thinking about the future, I offered testament to the idea that it was possible, at least in some ways, to overcome invisibility”.

This was one of the strongest messages to me in the book – whoever you are and wherever you are, you always have a voice. Work hard and use it. Become Invisible.

This review definitely does not do justice the book. I heartily recommend to read it – it is amazing.


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