Becoming by Michelle Obama

J. L. Harland • February 7th, 2021

'Becoming' is the widely acclaimed memoir by Michelle Obama covering her life up to and during her time as First Lady of the United States (2009-2017).

Michelle Obama’s book makes fascinating reading and is complementary to the recent prize-winning first-volume presidential memoir by Barack Obama, ‘A Promised Land’.

‘Becoming’ begins with Michelle Obama’s childhood in Chicago in a working-class black community through to her prestigious education at Harvard and Princeton. It covers the development of her career as a lawyer and subsequent move to work within the social sector and hospital administration, supporting the potential of those whose life chances have been limited by poverty, ill-health, and low expectations.

Her life during her time as First Lady is told eloquently and directly and gives an insight into her unique life experiences. Her love for her family and her desire for social improvement shine brightly throughout the memoir.  The intrusion and misrepresentation of the media at times is recounted resolutely and without self-pity. Also, the proactive steps she took to participate, while still protecting herself and her daughters, in the political arena– a world that she makes clear she did not seek out for herself.

The memoir ends with an epilogue; Michelle Obama’s frank reflections about the incoming president, Donald Trump, and her statement that she would not be prepared to put herself forward in politics. Her final words are a plea for humanity, for us all, despite provocations, to maintain an open mind and a generosity of spirit towards others; comments that are all the more powerful, tempered by her exposure to, and knowledge of,  the extraordinary, of highs and lows, in her role as First Lady of the United States.

‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama is published in the UK by Penguin.  A highly acclaimed and internationally bestselling memoir, it has also inspired a major Netflix documentary.

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