Becoming Hardcover – 13 Nov 2018
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An inspirational memoir that also rings true (Gaby Wood Daily Telegraph, Five Stars)
Obama's memoir is a genuine page-turner, full of intimacies and reflections. . . Allied to this candour is a steeliness of purpose. It is no exaggeration to say that every page of this book is, explicitly or otherwise, a reproach to Donald Trump, and a call-to-arms to those who would defeat the 45th President and all that he stands for (Matt D'Ancona Evening Standard)
This is a rich, entertaining and candid memoir. And overall she's a fun person to sit alongside as she tells you the story of her life, warts and all. . . it is as beautifully written as any piece of fiction, with a similar warm languid tone to Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth (Viv Groskop i, Five Stars)
This revealing memoir offers new insights into her upbringing on the south side of Chicago and the highs and lows of life with Barack Obama. . . Becoming is a 400-page expansion of this essential doctrine ['when they go low, we go high'], without compromising a refreshing level of honesty about what politics really did to her. I have read Barack Obama's two books so far, and this is like inserting a missing piece of reality into the narrative of his dizzying journey (Afua Hirsch Guardian)
I found myself lifting my jaw from my chest at the end of every other chapter, not because of any seedy insight into stories I'd always wondered about, but because, armed as I was with knowledge about her career, her mannerisms, and even her elbow-heavy dancing, this was not the Obama I thought I knew. She was more (Kuba Shand-Baptiste Independent)
Inspiring. . . After 421 pages of Becoming, I closed the book hoping that one day she would use her formidable intelligence, humanity - and humour - to offer a more tangible vision for how America might fight the rising tides of polarisation and hate (Financial Times)
Open and engaging. . . Obama writes with candour about the good times and bad. (Daily Express)
Of course, Becoming is Michelle Obama's story, of how she moved from a girl on the South Side of Chicago to becoming one of the most powerful women in the world. But in the final pages of the book, Obama writes, "It's all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor." Here, Obama is pushing us to reckon with our own becomings - to realise our own story and to have the power to tell it. (The Pool)
She's a woman we've all fallen in love with because she radiates joy and wisdom, and Becoming encapsulate this perfectly. It's also deeply honest - reading it makes you feel as though she's your close friend opening up to you (Red Online)
Obama writes with a refreshing candor (The Atlantic)
From the Inside Flap
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 U.S. 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 readers 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.
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There is a great deal to admire about Michelle Obama. A young woman brought up on the other side of the tracks in Chicago, went to Princeton and then Harvard for her law degree, and became the First Lady Of The United States. Some of her success was due to luck, but most is due to her intelligence and her hard work. As a woman and a black woman, she had to work three times as hard as a man, and she proved her worth.
Michelle Obama tells us she is writing this book to inspire the next generation. She knows how important role models are, especially for young women of color in a culture that isn’t changing fast enough. She says in her book , ‘Here I am, I have got a lot to say.’ Her book is divided into three sections-:’Becoming Me,” “Becoming Us”, and “Becoming More”. What we find in these pages is a woman opening herself and her world to us. This is a book so well written, with such honesty and integrity, I felt like I was trusted with her secrets.
She starts by talking about her upbringing, her life in Chicago, a family who showed such love and at the same time showed her that using her intellect to move herself forward was the right path. Off to Princeton where she was a minority for the first time, learning to navigate in a white world. Then to Harvard to study law, and her first job, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama.
Then the life of a married woman, working full time, wanting a family and finally succeeding via InVitroFertilization. Her husband was into politics and was often not home, so Michelle was the parent. Some resentment, and couples therapy helped them through their rough spots. Political life is difficult and the statements by some were hurtful, and she names names. The scrutiny and constraints were a lesson she quickly learned, and went onto become one of the most beloved First Ladies.
Now, Michelle Obama, has her real life back, and she is discovering who she wants to be. Her two girls are settling into their lives with plans of their own. Michelle Obama has no love for politics, and she will never seek a political office. She and her family are catching their breath, and looking toward to the future.
“Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an ‘angry black woman,’ ” she writes in the preface. Those three words — angry black woman — make her want to ask her detractors “which part of that phrase matters to them the most — is it ‘angry’ or ‘black’ or ‘woman’?”
Michelle Obama is telling the truth of her life, she grew up surrounded by love and music in a city, Chicago, she loves, onward to an education that took her far. She has everything she wanted, family, a husband she loves, and now she is onto the next path. An autobiography I urge everyone to read. This is a book of the year.
Recommended. prisrob 11-13-18
The book like her life rattles off events and achievements at a bewildering pace. It's quite a ride. She has met shallow and hypocritical people-I bet, and strong good people. She has been described as the most powerful woman in the world, an absurdity, as well as an angry black woman. Michelle has been hurt, humiliated and made fun of. Her eight years in the White House are detailed, warts and all.
At times she admits she hated politics. There is much padding that good editing would or should have removed. For example, do we need details of how she made cheese toast in their new home after leaving the White House? The prose is gushing at times and the dogs play a role. Many pages should have been culled. The chapter headings are: Becoming Me, Becoming US, and Becoming More.
Chapter one regales us with her upbringing, her parents- her father had MS, the local church, her brother Craig, learning to play piano, school and her 'high-performing' time there, and the locale, South Side of Chicago. The detail at times is overpowering, by chapter 2 you are a little exhausted.
She is a black girl from a working class background who has had to face innumerable obstacles made worse by being black. Violence was never far away. Michelle skipped grades and went to Princeton followed by law school at Harvard-you can't do much better than these Ivy-League places. We are told how she met her husband, the kind of partnership they have created, and their marital problems. At times the marriage was very rocky particularly when her husband decide to run for the Senate. His absences were long and frequent.
Michelle Robinson was born on January 17, 1964 in South Carolina. the state was a bastion of discrimination. She was named Michelle LaVaughn. The latter name was the first name of her father's mother. They moved to South Side Chicago and were squeezed into a discrete area apart from the white area. Racial segregation was perpetuated throughout Chicago. Even in the late 1960s the town was one of he most segregated cities in America. The family had moved there because the job opportunities while meagre were far better than in South Carolina. By 2000 the city's black population had swelled from 2 to 37 per cent. Michelle has been through a lot and seen a lot that we can only imagine.
This is an American story that has not been told too often. Who would have thought this black girl would one day be a part of a glittering social circle? She has come a very long way. Originally scathing about politics she became her husband's main political surrogate. Michelle is a fine speaker and a tough one. The Robinson family had only four spoons. Her father got a rise in his cleaning job and then they could afford five spoons. It is reported that she is a loyal and committed friend. She has made enemies in academia a political circles, in part because she does not hesitate to speak plainly about racial, crime and health issues. Overall, as this book demonstrates she is a living example of what America has to offer. It is a powerful insight into American society. Unfortunately, her husband failed to alleviate the lot of thousands of black Americans.
I have not finished the book yet (it is very 'fat', and I am pleased that it is becoming more interesting the closer she gets to the White House.
I didn't need to know who her favourite colleagues were in all her jobs etc. Maybe that's just me.
She is certainly a charming, lovable, amazing person, but all that stuff about her being so ambitious and obsessed with work got on my nerves, if I am honest. My critique certainly does not mean her as a person, but she (or her ghost writer) may not be that talented.
Now that I've ploughed through all the tedious stuff I am hoping for more interesting stories.
But then, who doesn't want to read her autobiography???!!! I, however, should've waited until I can borrow it in the library!