Becoming by Michelle Obama
Narrated by: Michelle Obama
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Release Date: November 2018
Genre: Non-Fiction; Memoir
Length: 19 hrs 3 mins
Find It: Audible
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. While also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the world. Dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives. And standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.
Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world. Chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.
With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. Telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations. And whose story inspires us to do the same.
Becoming gives us an intimate view into the life of the most impressive political wife in my lifetime. (Yeah, Hilary. But she was first lady before my “woke” years). Michelle Obama is an institution and I think I fell in love with her in 2016.
Her memoir takes us through 3 phases of her life. “Becoming Me,” tells the story of a girl growing up in a working-class family with a strong will, curious mind and a drive for excellence. Here, Michelle Obama reminisces about what it was like growing up with a father suffering from MS. She talks about her support system which mainly consisted of her family and it was easy to see how she turned out so beautiful. This section takes us through her days in University, Law school and finally as an associate at a major law firm.
Then comes the love of her life in “Becoming Us”. The Obama love story continues to unfold before our eyes and it was a delight getting a first-hand account from Michelle. I love that she was already pretty much settled by the time he walked into her life. Even more, because she was super chill about their friendship before “transitioning”. In this section, the young Michelle soon realises being a corporate lawyer wasn’t for her and she soon switched to a more community-focused path.
In this time, the young Barack is building up a rep in political circles and we soon move to “Becoming More”. Here, Michelle recounts her experience as a “surrogate” during the 2008 elections and having to adjust to public scrutiny. Seeing as I didn’t follow Michelle in this period, I particularly enjoyed listening to this section. This section is the “political phase” and Michelle talks about the struggle to keep up a semblance of real life within her family as they became one of the most visible people in the world.
Naturally, a book about such an exemplary life runs for hours, 19 hours to be precise. However, the little details in Becoming shared from her various experiences as a public figure kept me interested. I particularly enjoyed the anecdote about hugging the Queen of England (I missed the uproar but I can only imagine).
Becoming is a beautifully open tale. Michelle Obama takes us through a tour of her mind, insecurities, hopes, desires and aspirations. I could go on and on about this book and I still won’t be able to articulate how this book made me feel.
What can I say?
The audiobook is narrated by Michelle Obama herself and the experience was phenomenal. She wasn’t simply reading the book like in memoirs where the author isn’t an entertainer, instead, it felt like I was in a 19-hour long hangout with the former first lady of the United States. (More like 3 weeks, though but you know what I mean).
I love that Michelle gets to tell her own stories. I’ve always admired the fact that despite being married to the Sun that is Barack Obama, Michelle has been able to define her voice and become a relevant icon in her own right.
P.s. By all means, buy the physical copy for posterity but the audiobook is what you actually need in your life.