Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Reviewed by: NIDHA KHAN

 

Michelle Obama’s greatest asset is her ability to connect with people and this rests on her ability to be honest, genuine, and upfront – qualities which are all infused into her highly-anticipated memoir, Becoming.

Becoming is a deeply intimate exploration of Michelle’s journey from her early years on the South Side of Chicago to her departure from the White House. It’s not a book about Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States. But Michelle Obama, an African-American person, daughter, wife, mother, and First Lady. With a heavy dose of introspection and reflection, she shares the moments that brought her joy and the ones that dampened her spirits and rattled her sense of self. Moments which spanned from the evolution of her career, falling in love with Barack Obama, the loss of her father and close friend, gruelling political campaigns and racist rhetoric, and raising her two daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama in the public eye. Through this, she consistently sends a message that vulnerability and strength are not mutually exclusive, but rather deeply intertwined, and shatters the concept that our lives are a series of linear and logical steps forward.

Michelle’s critical analysis of her personal and professional journey is a clear marker of both her curiosity and intellectual and emotional intelligence. But, it is also a marker of how unique her experiences have been. As she explains in her interview with Jimmy Fallon, when you decide to make ‘unconventional’ choices, you feel the pressure to constantly justify your choices to those around you, especially to your loved ones. As an African-American woman and professional, she’s also navigated racism and been the first African-American to step into a particular role, such as being the First Lady of the United States. According to Michelle, “being the first is never easy” – you’re stepping into unchartered territory and constantly trying to make sense of and navigate what is going on around you. From a reader’s point of view, this makes for a fascinating read.

 

NIDHA KHAN is a public health graduate and policy student who spends her time writing about human rights, youth activism, and social issues. She’s also a lover of puns, a terrible cook, and is on a mission to hug every pug in sight. You can keep up with her antics on Instagram (@nidha01).

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