I LOVED Becoming by Michelle Obama. I opted, as I so often do, for the audio version. This allowed me to spend more than 19 hours with the former First Lady.
The book is thoughtfully and well written. There are clear messages and themes of becoming. It’s interesting to me to see the journey of those who achieve, especially those who achieve great things. And, this book is about one of those people. I liked reading and seeing how a woman from the middle class rose to a position of importance. I love her view and honesty on topics of race in America. Although, it does sadden me when someone with a platform like hers doesn’t actually offer suggestions or solutions to those problems. (Reaching for greater education opportunities isn’t the only solution to poverty and guns and racism in America.)
Throughout the text, I did feel that there was an awful lot left out. There are gaps and leaps through time. But, with so much to be covered, that’s understandable. And, the book is long, ~430 pages. So, you can’t put everything in. But, reading this book, you truly get a “sense” of Mrs. Obama.
What was an eye opener to me was that Michelle Obama, like so many women, chose or allowed her own journey to be so strongly defined by her husband. The book shows the distance between the sexes. And, while the Obama’s are a “team” in a straight couple sort of way, they aren’t equal in their relationship and that lack of equality is an issue (IMHO). I’m not judging their relationship, because we all make choices. But, I’m pointing out the idea that even in enlightened couples such as the Obama’s, the patriarchy domination remains. And, at one point (when Mr. Obama is in the Illinois statehouse) Mrs. Obama talks about not wanting to perpetuate that patriarchal standard in her children’s upbringing. While she may believe she was moving the bar on that score, from this autobiography, I don’t feel like it got moved very far. Perhaps it’s connected to instinct or coded into the survival DNA of the species, but the idea that as a woman she was somehow second bothered me. There’s still work to do…
Among the parts I liked the most was the epilogue. Mrs. Obama acknowledges were in the muck with our current president and waiting for the bottom to arrive, but even with this going on in our nation, there’s still hope. There’s always hope. And, that’s not only an important message to share, but I think it sums up Mrs. Obama’s political journey. The Obama’s have always been and I suspect will always be, hope.
In the end, I highly recommend Becoming by Michelle Obama. It’s about important themes and messages.