Why Michelle Obama’s New Memoir, “Becoming” Is A Must-Read

Over Christmas break, I renewed my love of reading for non-academic purposes. I used to be a massive book nerd, but somewhere between soccer practice, school, and streaming Netflix, I lost the desire to read full books anymore. I read (more like reading SparkNotes) what is required for school, and nothing more. This Christmas however, I was given Michelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming and found my love of reading again.

(me, settling in to read my new book)

Michelle Obama has always been someone I greatly admired, not simply for political reasons, but as a woman who holds her head high, works extremely hard, and still manages to come off as warm and relatable. Reading Becoming, you get the sense that you’re hearing HER voice, not some voice of some distant assistant typing away for her. You get a taste of the drive she has, all the way from her description of her days at Whitney Young to her desire to accomplish projects as First Lady.

One of the things I liked most about this book is that Obama doesn’t shy away from talking about her struggles. A biography I read about her before had made her seem flawless, but in her own words, Michelle Obama becomes human. She talks about how her desire to succeed eclipsed her personal desires and she went into corporate law as a result, realizing years later that she hated her job. She talks about the struggle of juggling motherhood and a full-time job, feeling like her husband’s career made hers take a backseat, and of her feelings of uncertainty in herself.

(How I like to imagine Mrs. Obama would have reacted to the previous description of her).

Michelle Obama’s honesty is what truly makes the book in the end because it makes her relatable– not only to a specific group of people, but to every person with a dream wondering if they’re on the right path and if they have what it takes to succeed. Her story is not one that ends in her grabbing a position of power, or announcing a run in 2020, but ends as a woman who has seen so much and has finally reached a place where she knows fully who she is.

In short, I highly recommend this book to anyone with sometimes wild ambitions and drive. Through Becoming, Obama teaches us how to keep pushing, even when life takes a “swerve” that we didn’t expect. Who knows, that swerve may be just what you never knew you needed.


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