Totally Booked: Becoming by Michelle Obama
I'm on page two of the preface and crying folks. This will be anything but an unbiased review. I love Michelle Obama so much it hurts. She is always on my list of, “People alive or dead you most want to have a meal with.” This story is told in three parts and I wanted to respect that structure. So here are my thoughts on the wonderful, still developing story of Michelle Obama.
Becoming Me - If you are a parent, have ever considered being a parent, or have a parent the first few chapters of Becoming are going to mean the most. The way Michelle (I am going to refer to her as though we are friends) talks about her childhood and the innate characteristics of her parents is magical. She mentions her father’s disability from time to time but mostly she talks about his character and how he raised his children in an ever-changing Chicago neighborhood. I am someone who hopes to one day be a parent and I often think about how I will raise children to be positive members of their community. I think Mr. Robinson is a beautiful testament to leading by example. Michelle talks about his involvement in their community saying, “Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave to other people.”
What an inspiring idea. Her parents constantly encouraged her and her brother to be challenged to grow in the lack of knowledge or interaction with newness. Her mother was constantly reminding them that she was raising adults, not children. This parental leadership and Michelle’s nature led her to constantly be asking “Am I good enough?” Especially when she found herself around individuals who were already informed of how good they were. In school settings, college campus, and law office, she didn’t want to question if she belonged but if she was worthy of being there. It feels as though she asks the question a lot, ignoring the goodness around her she has created. This pains me with familiarity. But then she finds the strength to answer the question and it becomes her mantra. “Am I good enough? Yes, I am.”
Becoming Us - Michelle and Barack Obama have one of those relationships that make for a perfect Netflix original rom-com. They butt heads in a competitive but joy-filled friendship. Romantic relationships are discussed but dismissed because of perceived judgments. Michelle is quick to dismiss him because he walks in late to his first day at work. I am an enneagram one and believe Michelle is also. Tardiness is a non-negotiable unacceptable trait in humans. I laughed my way through these chapters as Michelle ever so sweetly roast her husband and his silly smoking habit. But you also get to the read the love she feels for him as she is inspired by his mind and the way he takes in new information. These two strong-willed characters find themselves in a relationship that seems a bit like destiny even though they don’t really believe in destiny. I hope their two daughters read this section and realize the outstanding example of people and a couple they have as parents. It is a section of a story that makes you believe in love again. True love that is a bit messy, takes part in real life, but cannot be denied.
Though I pray Barack lives the longest, healthiest, most beautiful life, I do hope to one day hear the eulogy Michelle writes about her husband. The stories she chooses to share to the masses about the man that millions of people love but only she has the privilege of being married to, allow you to see a real human version of the 44th president of the United States of America. For that, I will always be grateful.
Becoming More - I can’t say that I have ever read a first ladies take on the presidency. The last section of Becoming allows you to see behind closed doors. I loved learning how much thought the Obama’s put into Sasha and Malia’s Whitehouse upbringing. I love hearing the quiet stories of Marian Robinson, First Granny, and her desire to keep as much of her freedom as possible.
Reading about all Michelle wanted (and did) accomplish during the 8 years in the Whitehouse had me crying more than anything else. As a white female, I have always recognized the importance of the Obama family being the first family of color to take on the role of First Family. I’ve been lucky enough to be in relationships with people who share the impact of the Obama’s in their life. I don’t think I had ever taken into consideration the weight of the importance and how the Obama family would decide to handle this historic time. Reading decisions they made, moments of heartbreak, and moments of “it is all changing,” from the first person point of view is a beautiful gift.
I have a hope that Becoming is a book that will grace bookshelves in every home but more importantly, high school classrooms. There is so much to learn from Michelle Obama’s story. Not because it is perfect, not because it is full of success stories, not because she was the greatest first lady in history (told you very bias), but because it is a true story filled with hard work, learning, and growing for all that surrounds you.
Again, another 10/10 recommendation from me but in all fairness I don’t think I’ll be recommending a book that I don’t completely love. So happy reading friends!
I ‘m Katie Ann. A few months ago I was living in Glasgow, Scotland working in community development and church ministry. Now I am the Kirk Gleason (Gilmore Girls) of my hometown. I will do just about any part time job, only if I can drink coffee while doing it. I am in that fun times of your mid twenties everyone likes to call ‘transition.’ It is very uncomfortable for me but red wine and dog cuddles are getting me through it. I share my adventures online @alwayskatieann.