By Michelle Obama
Sometimes somebody you adore writes a book and you read it hoping it will be great but also dreading (and knowing) it won’t. Because how can it possibly live up to your image of them? But after reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming I love her even more.
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Michelle Robinson was encouraged to have opinions and not be afraid of voicing them. She credits everyone – from her parents, to the role models she found whilst studying law at Princeton, to her dynamic female staff at the White House – with helping her ‘become’ who she is and achieve what she has.
What I particularly loved was her honesty: her disliking of US politics, not wanting Barack to run for President, their relationship bumps and counselling, date nights, IVF and the stresses of parenthood. Also, if you’ve had kids and also held down paid work this book will resonate (pre-First Lady days, she describes rushing to buy the kids’ socks in her lunch-break, then wolfing down a tub of salad in 10 minutes sat in her car).
The genius here is that you only need a passing interest in politics to enjoy this book, because essentially it’s just about Miche (as Barack calls her), what makes her tick and how she’s become so resilient while staying warm and human. She details the work she did as FLOTUS (numerous child-focused causes, among others), how she and Barack tried to give their daughters as normal an upbringing as possible (despite 24/7 bodyguards) and talks – briefly – about Trump. But she doesn’t dwell on him. She says what she thinks (‘misogynist’) and moves on. After all, she’s way too smart to harp because she just doesn’t like that Washington world of politics very much.
Freelance editor, write and author