• Joan Fernandez

Becoming

By Michelle Obama

Insightful, reflective role model

Above all the things to admire about this autobiography by Michelle Obama is her voice. Punching through her stories is the same familiar candor and compassion we grew used to listening to her speeches and events as First Lady. But in this book her stories carry a wonderful addition of reflection—a hindsight perspective—of both private and historical events of a momentous presidency. Listen to this reflection when she looks back at her dogged pursuit of law: “I can admit now that I was driven not just by logic but by some reflexive wish for other’s approval, too…


This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think. It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time.” Right? Such a universal truth. And this sentiment to challenge the cautious path aligns with what the reader already knows: She will end up supporting the incredulous idea that her husband will run for President.


A sentiment she repeats when describing Barak: “He was like a wind that threatened to unsettle everything.” (also aptly describing her falling in love with him.) This voice is a steady hand, smoothly guiding the reader through an orderly 3-part structure (Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More). At times her voice is emotional, such as the behind-the-scenes news of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Other times it is real— like when she writes about her worries as a mother raising two daughters in the public eye. Humble, affectionate, funny, smart, an advocate for girls’ ambitions and for tackling obesity.…this book was a joy to read.

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