Book: Becoming by Michelle Obama
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication date: 2018
Source: audiobook borrowed from the library
Summary: Michelle Obama was raised on the South Side of Chicago in a working-class family. We learn about her family, her schools, and her friends. She attended Chicago’s first magnet school where she got an early exposure to politics witnessing her friend’s father, Jesse Jackson, and his work with Operation PUSH. She followed her brother’s path to Princeton, but it was still a culture shock in many ways.
After finishing at Harvard Law School, Obama returned to Chicago to work for a law firm and, later, a variety of positions in government and non-profits where she felt like she could do more good. She was a reluctant politician’s wife, uncomfortable with the roughness of that pursuit.
I guess we all kind of know her biography after that — two daughters, a husband in politics, and eventually an iconic First Lady.
Thoughts: This was my very first audio book! We picked it for our book club, but several folks had read it previously. A couple mentioned that the audio book was really lovely, since she read it herself.
I tried audio books before and they were just too slow for me. Recently, though, I realized that I wanted a slower start in the mornings. A half of hour of doodling — good. Jumping on to Facebook and email within ten minutes of getting out of bed — not good. So, I listened to Becoming while I doodled. That proved to be a great way to start a day.
Our book club liked Becoming, for the most part. Most of us were inspired by Michelle Obama’s persistent pursuit of making the world better from whatever platform was available to her at any given time. One person thought it went into too much detail about things like piano lessons and could have been much shorter and punchier.
No one but me seemed to be completely enamored by the honesty of what it’s like to be a normal person thrust into a life of luxury and restraint. I love stories like that and this real-life version — South Side Chicago to the White House — is one of the best I’ve heard.
Appeal: Fans of Michelle Obama are the natural readers of this book. I can definitely recommend the audio version. I borrowed someone’s print version for a few minutes during our book club meeting so that I could look at the photographs.
Have you read this book? What did you think?