Women at large, mostly, all their life remain in the shadow of their husbands. It is here the spectacular prowess of Michelle Obama could be seen and why she became an inspiring figure and an icon for modern woman to emulate. I am personally a big admirer of Michelle Obama, but why, I realized truly after reading her memoir Becoming.
Why Michelle Obama Is Such An Inspiring Figure
It would never have been easy to come out of the silhouette of the world’s most important and powerful person, the President of United States of America and mark its own individual and independent identity. But Michelle Obama managed to accomplish.
I choose to read Becoming not because the writer is the better half of the most influential person of the world, Barack Obama, the former President of USA. Of course the world wouldn’t have own Michelle Obama without her husband.
However, more than 10 million copies of Becoming were sold because Michelle Obama forged and cemented her own significant identity. She is brand in herself, has set new standards and profile for First Lady position and doesn’t need the reference of her famous husband to be recognized.
About The Memoir
Michelle Obama will walk you through her life journey as a little girl to becoming the First Lady.
Becoming is divided into three parts – Becoming Me, Becoming Us and Becoming More
From the subtitles you can guess, Becoming Me is about Michelle Obama’s childhood days till the beginning of her professional life.
For me this was the best part of the book. It has details, anecdotes, stories from her childhood, which you might not have heard before; about people who mattered; about milestones in her life; and more about the values she imbibed and ingrained which shaped her.
You would get to know Michelle Obama as a kid, as a little girl, and as a teen how her life has been. Maturity and the grit to excel in Michelle Obama as a child would surprise you.
Also, this part has been stupendously written. There is so much depth in her writing that it felt like diving in the ocean again and again but couldn’t fathom the deepness enough.
There were several paragraphs in this part which I read again and again. Each time I marveled at the ease with which she expressed the complex emotions; I admired how immaculately she painted many scenarios to perfection; I was intrigued by her intense and enlightening reflections on things that matters.
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
Becoming Us is, of course, more about Barack Obama. It was actually interesting to see Barack Obama from the eyes of his wife. She was all praise about him, but like a typical wife not without complains about his tardiness, disorganized and casual lifestyle and smoking.
Michelle Obama wrote about her concern and apprehension about Barack’s growing political ambition which was keeping him away from home at the time when the family was growing with the arrival of two babies. Like any other ordinary couple they also had their ups and downs in relationship.
“a happy marriage can be a vexation, that it’s a contract best renewed and renewed again, even quietly and privately—even alone.”
But I will remember the second part of the book more for the melancholy note. Two most dear people in Michelle Obama’s life left her forever. There was so much pain in her words that I was not able to hold my tears.
Last part is about her journey and life as a First Lady, her initiatives, life in The White House surrounded by Secret Agents who restricted and limited any free movement due to safety purpose and how she survived constant scrutiny and criticism.
“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”
Michelle Obama As A Writer
What really bowled me over was her no nonsense approach towards the Republican party and Trump. She was all praise about the work Obama did. But she was graceful, even in criticizing Trump. She bashed Trump, but like a citizen, like a woman who felt hurt by his misogynist remarks.
Becoming was such a wonderful read. Not once Michelle Obama sounded like a pompous and extravagant First Lady. Her story is from becoming nothing to something and still she feels that there is some more to become.
She wrote the entire memoir as an ordinary woman, as a wife, as a mother. That’s why you would easily relate to her and her experience as a young teen, as a juggling working mother and as a political spouse.
I will call Michelle Obama a meticulous writer. She didn’t go overboard describing anything, she didn’t stretch things beyond the need, even while criticizing Trump or praising Obama she wrote in measured length, not overdoing anything. She just knows exactly where to stop and then come back again later.
“Was it good enough,” and my answer is “Yes it is.”
Michelle Obama teaches me a crucial thing women must find their voice and to be proud of their roots and who they are.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
Michelle Obama served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Michelle Obama started her career as an attorney at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama.
She later worked in the Chicago mayor’s office, at the University of Chicago, and at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Mrs. Obama also founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an organization that prepares young people for careers in public service.
The Obamas currently live in Washington, DC, and have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
MUST READ Memoirs
Becoming is a must read memoir. If you love reading memoirs I would like to suggest a few more to you which you can add to your TBR, which I have enjoyed reading thoroughly and learned something from their life.
Here goes the list
Never before I have read a memoir by a business tycoon written with the blunt honesty. Phil Knight, the co-founder of one of the most reputed shoe company, Nike has poured in his life experience as someone who loves and understand shoe and as a passionate runner. The entire books reads like a thriller. Indeed the journey of Nike and Phil Knight has witnessed many adventure full of ups and down.
What a turn of fate. The doctor himself becomes a patient and even as a cancer patient, Paul Kalanithi shows the world how to fight with cancer. That cancer cells can eat up the body but not the spirit. Paul Kalanithi lived his remaining days with enthusiasm and doing things which he always loved to do. It is a heartfelt memoir.
AB The Autobiography by AB de Villiers
By default, we know a lot about our Indian cricket and cricketers. For a change, if you are curious to read some other nation’s cricketers memoir then AB De Villiers would be a great read.