Becoming by Michelle Obama Review

Becoming memoir by Michelle Obama
Becoming by Michelle Obama, ISBN 9780241334140, 426pp

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a bit of a departure from my usual reading material. I rarely read biographies and when I do they are usually written by female comedians and are full of laughs. But Becoming hooked me from page one. It was written with so much warmth, personality and wisdom. I loved learning more about Michelle Obama’s life and getting a peek into what it was like living in the White House and being the First Lady of the United States.

I remember watching President Barack Obama’s first inauguration on TV. I was living in the UK at the time and it was one of those moments that I knew I’d remember forever. Even though I am Australian, it was just such an historic moment to see America elect their first African-American president. Since that time, I have always been fascinated by the Obamas.

Becoming tells Michelle Obama’s story from her childhood through to present day. I enjoyed reading about Michelle’s childhood growing up with her parents and brother in a small apartment on the South Side of Chicago. From a young age she had such a strong work ethic when it came to getting a good education. She wanted to learn and succeed. She was determined and outspoken from an early age. Life wasn’t easy as her dad lived with multiple sclerosis. They didn’t own their own home. But her parents worked hard and made sacrifices to see that Michelle and her brother get a good education.

The memoir skips to Michelle’s time at Princeton, on to her first years as a lawyer, and then meeting and mentoring Barack Obama at the firm she worked in. Becoming gives the reader a glimpse into their early years as a couple and gives Michelle’s perspective on being the girlfriend — and later wife — of a truly brilliant man who was always going to go places. Michelle might downplay it a bit in the book, but it must have been so tough on her to have a husband who spent more time away in the world of politics then he was at home. Then when kids came along, combined with her own high-powered career, it became even tougher.

I liked how Michelle didn’t sugar-coat some parts of her life and what it meant being a spouse of a politician. I thought it was admirable that while she always supported Barack, she had her own opinions and ambitions. A common refrain from Michelle throughout Becoming is that she’s not a fan of politics (neither am I). But she still stepped up to campaign for and support her husband.

I won’t go into too much more detail as I think this is a book you need to read for yourself. Whenever I read a memoir, I always wonder about what wasn’t included. I’m sure there was a lot that Michelle couldn’t say because of national security or to protect her family’s privacy, but this memoir still felt intimate to read. It felt like Michelle didn’t hold back on her thoughts and feelings. Even though she has done many extraordinary things, there was also a sense of the ordinary about her life as a woman, wife and mother.

Verdict: An intimate and inspiring look into the life of Michelle Obama.

Have you read Becoming? What did you think?

What biography/memoir do you recommend?

13 thoughts on “Becoming by Michelle Obama Review

  1. Phil Havercroft February 15, 2019 / 10:25 am

    Wow, sounds really interesting. I will definitely need to give this one a read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads February 15, 2019 / 10:26 am

      It’s great! I highly recommend it 🙂


    • Janereads February 15, 2019 / 10:43 am

      I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it too!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads February 15, 2019 / 6:22 pm

      It’s definitely worth reading! And thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nirmala February 17, 2019 / 6:09 am

    I know the feeling when you say you’d remember President Barack Obama’s first inauguration forever. It was a defining moment in my life too. Although I’m Sri Lankan, that was the day I started to love America as much as I love my home country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads February 17, 2019 / 10:24 pm

      It was such a great historical moment that I will always remember. I am glad to hear that it had such an impact on you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. melaniehunter5 February 20, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    I am inspired to read Becoming soon after reading your review, Jane. What a beautifully written review. I also learnt more about Michelle reading your review. I also loved watching the impact Obama made and even bought an Obama magnet when I was in US. 😂 I am looking forward to reading more about Michelle and her childhood. What an amazing woman. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads February 20, 2019 / 9:24 pm

      It’s a great memoir. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins February 21, 2019 / 9:05 am

    Of course we can never truly know from the outside, but it’s always seemed to me like they have an incredible marriage. Not a fairytale gushy romantic one, but a genuine and loving partnership, where they support and build each other up unconditionally. Barack listed this book as his #1 pick on his most recent reading list, clever man 😂 I’m thinking I’d like to read the audiobook for this one, she narrates it herself which I think would be really interesting. ❤️


  5. theorangutanlibrarian March 18, 2019 / 7:12 am

    It’s a great that it didn’t sugarcoat things and it sounds like a really well done memoir!


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