Book Review

Becoming Michelle Obama


This book is NOT POLITICAL.  I say that in all caps, right at the start, because this is not a partisan book, as in blue versus red.  Michelle Obama’s Becoming is the story of a woman’s quest to find herself.  It is universal and not to be missed.

For starters, the writing is beautiful.  Yes, the acknowledgment page names people who helped with the writing, but I can’t hold that against the author.  She took creative writing courses at Princeton, nothing to sneeze at.  And the ideas here, the content, is hers alone.

Typically, when listening to an audiobook, I avoid those read by the author.  Some authors seem driven by ego to think they can play different parts in a book as well as a professional reader.  I’ve listened to a few author-read samples that are perfectly awful.  Becoming is an exception for several reasons.  First, being a memoir, the story’s voice is Mrs. Obama.  Second, she knows the story and feels every line.  Third, her voice is mellifluous, as in lyrical and pleasant to hear.

I would have edited down some of the childhood detail at the start, but the pace soon picks up and is spot on.  Mrs. Obama agonizes over the demands of a legal career, over the pull-and-tug of being a working woman raising children, over the angst of ceding her independence when her husband chose to run for higher office.  Though I’m  neither black nor the wife of a US President, I identified with her deeply.

Last fall, when I posted a shot of Becoming in my TBR pile, several women commented that they refused to go anywhere near this book.  It’s their loss.  Truly.

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