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Becoming

by Michelle Obama

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,0152521,603 (4.43)301
"An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. When she was a little girl, Michelle Robinson's world was the South Side of Chicago, where she and her brother, Craig, shared a bedroom in their family's upstairs apartment and played catch in the park, and where her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, raised her to be outspoken and unafraid. But life soon took her much further afield, from the halls of Princeton, where she learned for the first time what if felt like to be the only black woman in a room, to the glassy office tower where she worked as a high-powered corporate lawyer--and where, one summer morning, a law student named Barack Obama appeared in her office and upended all her carefully made plans. Here, for the first time, Michelle Obama describes the early years of her marriage as she struggles to balance her work and family with her husband's fast-moving political career. She takes us inside their private debate over whether he should make a run for the presidency and her subsequent role as a popular but oft-criticized figure during his campaign. Narrating with grace, good humor, and uncommon candor, she provides a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of her family's history-making launch into the global limelight as well as their life inside the White House over eight momentous years--as she comes to know her country and her country comes to know her. [This book] takes us through modest Iowa kitchens and ballrooms at Buckingham Palace, through moments of heart-stopping grief and profound resilience, bringing us deep into the soul of a singular, groundbreaking figure in history as she strives to live authentically, marshaling her personal strength and voice in service of a set of higher ideals. In telling her story with honesty and boldness, she issues a challenge to the rest of us: Who are we and who do we want to become?"--Jacket.… (more)
  1. 20
    Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage by Christopher Andersen (Cammie.m)
    Cammie.m: This book gives an insight to the Obama’s life, love, marriage, and parenthood. It also discusses the trials and tribulations of being the President of the a United States of America. This book is a wonderful read!
  2. 21
    A White House diary by Lady Bird Johnson (Elizabeth.Macyshyn)
    Elizabeth.Macyshyn: First Lady autobiographies are fascinating, after enjoying Becoming, try the one that started the trend.
  3. 10
    I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (lottpoet)
    lottpoet: similar sense of doing what needs doing, of her deeds being, not extraordinary, but a part of ordinary humanness
  4. 11
    Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (JuliaMaria)
  5. 22
    Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (TheLittlePhrase)
  6. 01
    A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Cecrow)
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» See also 301 mentions

English (239)  German (4)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (252)
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
Michelle Obama is the only person who will keep me glued to a 19 hour audiobook from beginning to end. Always my FLOTUS. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I've had this book since Christmas, 2018 with every intention of reading it "soon". And Christmas, 2020, my wife gave me 'A Promised Land', Barack's autobiography. So, to catch up to date it was time to read "Becoming". So, from January, 2021 to May, 2021 I did just that. Well worth the time, it was educational and entertaining. I did read other books at the same time. I have always preferred fiction, but what I learned about Michelle (I feel I know her well enough for first names) backs up all the reasons and feelings behind my voting for the Obamas to be the first couple of the U.S. The narrative is genuine and tells of a woman, a humanitarian, Who made a difference and will continue to make a difference, leading by example and by speaking up to share her ideals of righting wrongs. Her life is a great path to a better world. ( )
  thosgpetri | Jun 5, 2021 |
Leading up the 2008 and 2012 elections, I learned more than I ever expected about Barack Obama. Somehow in all that time, Michelle Obama played the classic wife role, away from the spotlight unless it intersected her husband. Her story is so much more driven by grit, inspiration and an overwhelming drive to improve things for other people. This was a refreshing look into what public service can and should look like - even when it's split between the public and private sector. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
If you pick up Michelle Obama’s memoir and the first few chapters don’t suck you in… stick with it.

I say this because at the beginning of Becoming, all I could think was “this is okay… but it’s overhyped?” and I started steeling myself to write an Unpopular Opinion review. Becoming starts a bit more slowly and picks up speed as it goes. Like any memoir, your enjoyment of it will depend on what you want to know. For example, while she talks a little about the time she spent dating Barack Obama, that isn’t a large focus of the book.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bulk of Becoming focuses on her family’s time in the White House. I really liked this – more than I expected to. She really humanized their experience there. Presidential families are traditionally made up of Rich White Men and as such it makes the high office feel distant. Michelle Obama speaks more of humanity than patriotic duty, and in my opinion… that matters. A lot.

Becoming openly discusses relatable themes like miscarriage, work-life balance, passion projects, and parenting. She briefly addresses a few banner moments in the presidency and she talks a little about her Let’s Move campaign. She also talks about wishing her husband was home for dinner, and the crushing fear of saying the wrong thing and ruining everything. Most importantly, to me, she takes the Obamas time in office and makes it accessible. From her daughters learning to drive themselves to wonderful stories about her interactions with Queen Elizabeth… she reminds us that the high political families are still people.

I think, in the United States particularly, we tend to put our presidents on a pedestal. We treat them like kings or cult leaders and expect miracles. But they’re people too. With needs and feelings that all the rest of us have. Your enjoyment of this book will likely also be affected by your political affiliations due to the deeply polarized nature of American politics. But I just thought it was wonderful. I feel I have a better understanding of the human challenges faced by the presidential families.

I wouldn’t say that Becoming is an inspirational masterpiece – I think that’s pointing the book in the wrong direction. This book is important so young Black girls can see themselves in a world that feels unattainable. I felt Becoming instilled more of a sense of compassion than inspiration. This book is filled with hope, it’s filled with love. It’s honest and kind. ( )
  Morteana | May 2, 2021 |
This is one lovely account of a lovely First Black First Lady in the American History.
I love the stories she tells of her struggles with planning families and keeping them together.
I'd love to read what the husband has viewed his life in the White House to understand the energy she always talks about her husband. ( )
  Ibrahim_Obalola | Apr 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
The summary of Obama’s White House initiatives relies on promotional language and well-worn anecdotes, and the book’s final pages are just a shade away from an overt advertisement for the Obama Foundation. The memoir’s “bombshell” revelations, which the media has projected as revelations of the female condition writ large—a discussion of Obama’s use of fertility treatment to conceive her daughters, and of a period of her marriage in which “frustrations began to rear up often and intensely”—belie how much the rest of the text withholds.
 
I suspect that some of Becoming’s power lies in the ways it employs the techniques of a novel more than those of a typical political memoir—in its honesty about human nature and ambivalence, yes, but also in its colorful and idiosyncratic details ... in its willingness to let anecdotes speak for themselves rather than pedantically spelling out their lessons.
 
Becoming is frequently funny, sometimes indignant or enraged, and when Michelle describes her father’s early death from multiple sclerosis it turns rawly emotional.
added by g33kgrrl | editThe Guardian, Peter Conrad (Nov 18, 2018)
 
But despite how close we get to her voice here, it’s never quite close enough. She lets us into all kinds of memories, including tender recollections, romantic dates, and triumphant moments on the campaign trail. But for all her candidness, there is still a veil of privacy around the inner workings of this reluctant public figure. She draws the reader in, but pauses at arm’s length. Maybe this is all we can expect, in text, from this woman with so much presence. As she says herself, she’s more of a hugger.
added by g33kgrrl | editVanity Fair, Sonia Saraiya (Nov 15, 2018)
 
Even if Becoming is not always interesting, it is much more interesting than it needed to be to qualify as a successful first lady memoir. And as an example of how to walk the tightrope — how to seem charming but not like an intellectual lightweight; how to get things done without seeming threatening; how to do all of the impossible things we demand of women in general, of first ladies in particular, and of the first black first lady as an absolute — Becoming is a straight-up master class.
added by g33kgrrl | editVox, Constance Grady (Nov 13, 2018)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Obama, MichelleAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Obama, MichelleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svensson, ManneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To all the people who have helped me become:

the folks who raised me---Fraser, Marian, Craig,
and my vast extended family,

my circle of strong women, who always lift me up,

my loyal and dedicated staff, who continue to make me proud.
To the loves of my life:

Malia and Sasha, my two most precious peas,
who are my reason for being,

and finally, Barack, who always promised me an interesting journey.
First words
When I was a kid, my aspirations were simple. (Preface)
Quotations
Grief and resilience live together.
I spent much of my childhood listening to the sound of striving.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. When she was a little girl, Michelle Robinson's world was the South Side of Chicago, where she and her brother, Craig, shared a bedroom in their family's upstairs apartment and played catch in the park, and where her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, raised her to be outspoken and unafraid. But life soon took her much further afield, from the halls of Princeton, where she learned for the first time what if felt like to be the only black woman in a room, to the glassy office tower where she worked as a high-powered corporate lawyer--and where, one summer morning, a law student named Barack Obama appeared in her office and upended all her carefully made plans. Here, for the first time, Michelle Obama describes the early years of her marriage as she struggles to balance her work and family with her husband's fast-moving political career. She takes us inside their private debate over whether he should make a run for the presidency and her subsequent role as a popular but oft-criticized figure during his campaign. Narrating with grace, good humor, and uncommon candor, she provides a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of her family's history-making launch into the global limelight as well as their life inside the White House over eight momentous years--as she comes to know her country and her country comes to know her. [This book] takes us through modest Iowa kitchens and ballrooms at Buckingham Palace, through moments of heart-stopping grief and profound resilience, bringing us deep into the soul of a singular, groundbreaking figure in history as she strives to live authentically, marshaling her personal strength and voice in service of a set of higher ideals. In telling her story with honesty and boldness, she issues a challenge to the rest of us: Who are we and who do we want to become?"--Jacket.

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