Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama released her autobiography, Becoming, in November 2018. With a juggernaut of accompanying publicity, a speaking tour like no other, and those silver thigh high boots, it has been one of the literary events of the year.
In some ways, Obama chose to follow a traditional path with her life.
She left her job so she could support her husband – she has the platform she does because of who she is married to – and her top priority is unequivocally her children.
But I didn’t know the half of it. By the end of this book, I was wondering if perhaps Barack
Obama has the platform he does because of who he is married to.
She is at pains to emphasise throughout this book that she was not the brightest student in
her class, rather she worked very hard.
And that everything she achieved, from her academic success at Princeton and Harvard to her stellar law career, was down to striving.
She got herself the megabucks corporate job, the car, the house, all the traditional markers of power and success.
But then she looked around and wanted something else. It is a combination of huge success and huge humanity that makes Obama so impressive.
She seeks out and creates a series of jobs for herself where she can make a difference,
where she can give people, particularly young people, opportunities to achieve great things too.
And when her husband decides he is going to run to become President of the United
States and – spoiler alert – he wins, twice, she uses the office of First Lady in new ways to
further her passions.
I know I am waxing lyrical here. But sorry, not sorry. I haven’t even got to the thing I love
most about Michelle Obama yet. She is an emotional lady who wears her heart on her
sleeve, but she sees this emotion as a strength not a weakness. And for that alone, even
without everything else she has achieved, she would be my hero.
She is open about the difficulties of balancing her career with her family life.
And the sections where she discusses the pain of miscarriage and the difficulties of staying happily married to someone, even someone you love very much, should be read by everyone.
Michelle Obama made it right into the heart of the establishment, and took humanity,
kindness and, of course, thigh high silver boots, with her. And while this is a superb, inspiring
read, I get the feeling that her story is only just beginning.