Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Title: Becoming
  • Subtitle: None
  • Author(s): Michelle Obama
  • Publisher: Crown
  • Year: 2018-11-13
  • ISBN-10: 1524763152
  • ISBN-13: 9781524763152


Becoming” by Michelle Obama is an inspiring and intimate memoir that offers readers a glimpse into the life of one of the most admired and influential women in the world. The book is divided into three parts, each chronicling a different phase of Michelle’s life: her childhood in Chicago’s South Side, her journey through education and career, and her experiences as First Lady of the United States.

In the first part, Michelle shares her early years, giving readers a sense of the close-knit and loving family that shaped her. She describes her parents’ dedication to her education and the challenges she faced growing up in a working-class neighborhood. Her story is one of resilience and the belief that with hard work and determination, she could break through the barriers placed in her path.

The second part of the memoir delves into Michelle’s academic and professional journey, from her time at Princeton University and Harvard Law School to her career as a lawyer and her eventual transition into public service. She reflects on the complexities of balancing her ambition with family life, a theme that resonates with many women striving to achieve their goals while navigating societal expectations.

The final part of “Becoming” takes readers behind the scenes of Michelle’s life as First Lady. She offers a candid portrayal of her experiences in the White House, highlighting her initiatives to promote education, health, and military family support. Her dedication to these causes and her genuine connection with people across the country shine through, demonstrating her commitment to making a positive impact.

Throughout the memoir, Michelle Obama’s authenticity and vulnerability are on full display. She shares personal stories, insecurities, and triumphs that many readers can relate to, making “Becoming” not only a memoir of a remarkable life but also a source of inspiration for those seeking to overcome obstacles, find their voice, and make a difference in the world.


Book Review

"Becoming: Michelle Obama's Journey of Resilience, Hope, and Empowerment"

Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming,” is a captivating and deeply personal narrative that invites readers to walk alongside her on a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and public service. With grace, candor, and eloquence, she reveals the formative experiences of her life, from her upbringing in Chicago’s South Side to her years in the White House as the First Lady of the United States. “Becoming” is not just a recounting of her time in the public eye but a testament to the power of resilience, hope, and the unwavering belief that individuals have the capacity to effect positive change in the world.

One of the most striking aspects of “Becoming” is its exploration of Michelle’s childhood and family background. She paints a vivid picture of growing up in a working-class neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where she was surrounded by love, discipline, and the nurturing belief that education was the key to a better future. Her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, instilled in her the values of hard work, integrity, and responsibility. Michelle’s close-knit family is at the heart of her journey, and she fondly describes her home as a place where dreams were nurtured and potential was limitless. She writes, “I was a daughter. It was my most important identity. It was the most hopeful part of me, the warmest, the most invested in and cherished.”

The memoir vividly illustrates the challenges Michelle faced as a young Black girl in a society marked by racial inequalities and discrimination. Her recollections of the racial dynamics of her time, including the experience of being “different” in predominantly white spaces, are candid and poignant. She writes about her experiences in elementary and high school, where she was one of the few African American students, and how she felt a constant need to prove herself, a feeling many marginalized individuals can relate to. Michelle’s story is one of resilience, illustrating how she transformed the pressure to conform into the determination to excel academically and prove her worth.

The narrative then transitions to Michelle’s journey through higher education, attending Princeton University and later Harvard Law School. She describes her struggle to find a sense of belonging as a Black woman in predominantly white academic settings. The book resonates with anyone who has experienced the challenges of being a first-generation college student, including the pressure to succeed and the feeling of being an outsider in a world of privilege. Michelle’s determination and hard work during this period reflect her belief that education could be a transformative force, enabling her to break down barriers and overcome obstacles.

Becoming” also provides a unique perspective on the demands and sacrifices faced by those who enter public service. Michelle discusses her early legal career, the challenges of balancing work and family life, and the profound sense of disillusionment she felt as she grappled with the ethical conflicts of corporate law. This part of her journey is relatable to individuals who have navigated the complex terrain of work-life balance, as she experienced the pressure to conform to societal expectations while trying to preserve her own sense of purpose and integrity.

One of the most significant and transformative moments in Michelle’s life was her meeting and eventual marriage to Barack Obama. Their love story, as depicted in “Becoming,” is a heartwarming testament to the power of partnership, shared values, and mutual respect. She provides a candid look into their early years together, revealing the challenges they faced, including the tension between their respective careers and the difficulties of infertility. The book underscores the significance of support, communication, and trust in building a strong foundation for a successful marriage.

As “Becoming” transitions to Michelle’s role as the First Lady, it offers an inside look at the sacrifices and demands placed on her and her family. She delves into her initiatives to promote education, healthy eating, and support for military families. These endeavors, while impactful, came with the scrutiny and criticism that accompany public life. She candidly discusses the racial and gender biases she encountered, including the stereotype of the “angry Black woman.” Her ability to transcend these stereotypes and maintain her grace and authenticity is a testament to her resilience and determination.

The memoir also touches on her experiences traveling the country during Barack’s presidential campaign and the historic significance of his election as the 44th President of the United States. The book captures the anticipation and excitement of that moment, which inspired hope and optimism for millions. Michelle’s reflections on the role of the First Lady are a compelling testament to the importance of leveraging influence and privilege for the greater good.

Becoming” is not just a memoir; it is a reflection on the power of identity and the importance of self-discovery. Michelle Obama’s story is a testament to the idea that one’s background and circumstances need not determine one’s destiny. Her narrative is an inspiring call to action, emphasizing the value of education, empathy, and engagement with the world. Throughout the book, she underscores the idea that we are all in the process of “becoming” and that the journey, with all its ups and downs, is what shapes us into who we are meant to be.

In conclusion, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama is a remarkable memoir that vividly captures the essence of her journey from a working-class neighborhood in Chicago to the pinnacle of American politics. It resonates with readers on many levels, touching on themes of resilience, hope, empowerment, and the pursuit of a life of purpose.

Word Count: 968

The problem is, when that spotlight fades, sometimes it might mean that your flame is flickering out. But sometimes, when you're not looking, that spotlight will suddenly swivel back in your direction. And when it does, you have to be ready to leap up and seize it, no matter how sleep-deprived or exasperated, no matter how unprepared you may feel.

Key Ideas

Becoming” by Michelle Obama is a memoir that encompasses a wide range of key ideas and themes, reflecting the author’s life experiences and her journey of self-discovery and empowerment:

  1. Resilience and Determination One of the central ideas in the book is the theme of resilience. Michelle Obama’s life journey is marked by numerous obstacles and challenges, from growing up in a working-class neighborhood to facing racial and gender biases. Her story underscores the power of determination and hard work in overcoming adversity, pursuing education, and achieving personal and professional success.

  2. The Importance of Family and Values Michelle Obama places a strong emphasis on the influence of her family, particularly her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson. Her upbringing instilled in her the values of integrity, responsibility, and the belief in the transformative power of education. These values served as the foundation for her life’s work and public service.

  3. Identity and Self-Discovery “Becoming” explores the theme of identity and self-discovery. Michelle candidly reflects on her journey to understand who she is and her place in the world. She discusses the challenges of being a Black woman in predominantly white spaces, her experiences as a first-generation college student, and the complexities of balancing societal expectations with her own aspirations.

  4. Partnership and Marriage The book delves into Michelle’s relationship with Barack Obama and their journey as a couple. Their love story is a central theme, illustrating the importance of partnership, shared values, and mutual respect. Michelle’s portrayal of their early years together, as well as their struggles with work-life balance and infertility, is a testament to the resilience of their relationship.

  5. Education as a Transformative Force Throughout “Becoming,” education is presented as a transformative force in Michelle’s life. From her experiences in elementary and high school to her higher education at Princeton and Harvard Law School, education is depicted as a means to break down barriers and create opportunities for personal and professional growth.

  6. Public Service and Leadership The memoir delves into Michelle’s commitment to public service and leadership. It offers insights into her time as First Lady, including her initiatives to promote education, healthy living, and support for military families. It highlights the responsibility and the opportunity to make a positive impact when in a position of influence.

  7. Resonance of Hope and Empowerment “Becoming” resonates with themes of hope and empowerment. Michelle’s journey, from her humble beginnings to the White House, serves as an inspiration for individuals seeking to overcome obstacles and make a difference in their own lives and communities.

  8. Mentorship and Support The book emphasizes the significance of mentorship and support in personal growth and development. Michelle acknowledges the teachers, mentors, and family members who played pivotal roles in her life, highlighting the transformative impact of dedicated educators.

  9. The Universal Human Experience “Becoming” transcends political divides and resonates with the universal human experience. Michelle’s story serves as a source of encouragement, hope, and empowerment for people from all walks of life, inspiring them to embrace their own journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

In summary, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama is a multifaceted memoir that touches on themes of resilience, family, education, identity, partnership, public service, and the universal human experience. It is a testament to the power of determination, the importance of values, and the capacity of individuals to shape their own destinies and create positive change in the world.


Target Audience

Becoming” by Michelle Obama is targeted at a diverse audience interested in themes of personal growth, leadership, resilience, and empowerment. The book is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Inspiring Memoir Enthusiasts Readers who enjoy memoirs that offer insight into the lives of remarkable individuals will find “Becoming” to be a compelling and inspiring read. Michelle Obama’s story is relatable and motivating, making it an engaging choice for those who seek personal growth and empowerment through the experiences of others.

  • Women and Girls Seeking Empowerment “Becoming” serves as an empowering narrative for women and girls, emphasizing the importance of self-discovery, education, and determination in achieving their goals. Michelle’s journey from a modest background to becoming the First Lady of the United States provides a model of resilience and leadership for aspiring women and girls.

  • Educators and Mentors The book highlights the transformative role of education and mentorship. Educators and mentors can draw inspiration from Michelle’s story to guide and support their students, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential.

  • Public Service and Civic Engagement Enthusiasts Readers interested in public service and civic engagement will appreciate the insights into Michelle’s experiences as First Lady. Her commitment to initiatives supporting education, health, and military families serves as an example of the positive impact one can make in the realm of public service and community engagement.

  • Those Seeking a Message of Hope “Becoming” resonates with individuals seeking a message of hope and encouragement. Michelle Obama’s story is a testament to the power of hope, hard work, and determination, offering solace and inspiration to those facing challenges and uncertainties.

  • Book Clubs and Discussion Groups “Becoming” is an excellent choice for book clubs and discussion groups looking to explore themes of identity, personal growth, and leadership. The memoir provides ample material for engaging discussions and reflections on the human experience.

  • Individuals Interested in American Political History The book offers a unique perspective on American political history through the lens of a First Lady. Readers interested in the behind-the-scenes experiences of political figures will find “Becoming” to be a valuable addition to their reading list.

  • Michelle Obama's Admirers Fans of Michelle Obama, both in the United States and around the world, will undoubtedly appreciate the opportunity to delve deeper into her life and experiences. The book provides an intimate look into her journey, making it a must-read for those who admire her.

In conclusion, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama is recommended reading for a wide-ranging audience interested in personal growth, empowerment, leadership, and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome challenges and effect positive change. Michelle’s memoir offers valuable lessons and inspiration for individuals of all backgrounds and aspirations, making it a compelling and motivating choice for readers seeking to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery and empowerment.

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