Bottom line- Read this!!!!
Okay, now that I have that off my chest… Michelle Obama’s memoir was loaned to me by my sister, and I enjoyed every morsel of this story.
She frames the piece in three sections: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More, and each section had many fascinating insights into her career development, family life, marriage and a smidge of political life.
Becoming Me focused mostly on her childhood, friendships and family life in Chicago, her undergrad experience at Princeton, and briefly her disillusionment with practicing law, where she met Barack. I did not know much about the Obamas, especially Michelle. I tend to think of them iconicly, as larger than life figures, and reading her memoir humanized her. What truly resonated was how she described arriving at her career not by passion but by “checking the boxes.” Duty, not passion, propelled her. I think it’s a delicate balance between duty and passion, and it’s easy to put everyone else’s needs and expectations before your own, especially if you tend to enjoy making peace, as I do.
Hearing her talk about the segregation of the Princeton campus, how she mainly socialized with other minorites on campus, made me think of my own self imposed segregation. She says, “even today, with white students continuing to outnumber students of color on college campuses, the burden of assimilation is put largely on the shoulders of minority students. In my experience, it’s a lot to ask.” I certainly did not make a conscious effort to make people of color more comfortable when I was in college, thinking it as uncomfortable for me, and effectively putting the burden on them. Not actively hating but actively participating by being passive, is shameful in retrospect. And it makes me want to make that effort now, in church, school, work, and hobby. Am I welcoming? Am I willing to sacrifice my comfort for their comfort? Am I speaking up when I see racism?
Honestly there would be so much to write, to show how much I loved this memoir and how it stirred me, that I could not possibly cover it all here. The mothering struggle, what her family had to compromise with Barack’s political ambitions, and how she stayed sane amid the grueling schedule and lack of privacy, were all very interesting.
Read it for yourself, please! I read the hardcover edition, but she narrates the audio version, if you have greater access to that.
Have you read this? What did you think?