Becoming

Becoming

Book - 2018 | First edition
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In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. A deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.
Publisher: New York : Crown, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781524763138
1524763136
Branch Call Number: B OBAMA-M 2018
Characteristics: xiii, 426 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. With unerring honesty and lively wit, s... Read More »


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m
maipenrai
Mar 23, 2021

Having recently listened to Barak Obamas' book "A Promised Land" and now to Michelle narrating "Becoming" I heartily recommend listening to both books through streaming or on Audiobook CD's. There is nothing comparable to being read to by the former President and First Lady. Both books are tonics for the last 4 years. It is difficult for me to choose my favorite between the two, so I will not. I enjoyed Barak's book for the insider political information and Michelle's for the family and female perspective. Read them both for insight into two ordinary people who led extraordinary lives and are marvelous role models for adult and young people alike. Hopefully our country is still becoming and we will reach the promised land. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Barrie_Teen_Lists Mar 22, 2021

When I finally had the chance to read Michelle Obama’s memoir, I had very high expectations for the book. Amazingly, Becoming did not disappoint. This book gave tremendous insight to life inside the White House from 2008 until 2016.

c
CandidCari
Mar 16, 2021

I was pleasantly surprised by how relatable this book was. Plus, it was nice to learn more about Michelle Obama. I liked the behind-the-scenes stories that humanize first ladies, including the ones who came before her. Additionally, it was also nice to hear a woman coming to terms with defining her life by her own metrics. I also found it refreshing to hear how juggling work and motherhood made her consider what she wanted out of life. In other words, I appreciate the honesty and how Obama acknowledged that she is not perfect but is a work in progress.

c
CarolWhiticar
Mar 13, 2021

Very interesting and well written. A good read.

m
mueoie
Mar 04, 2021

Becoming is one of those books that will stick with you forever. It being a memoir is a big part of it, but Obama’s down to earth, humane anecdotes make her more relatable than her public figure ever will. Because of that, it is to be expected that the book is revised and edited to a certain degree, a way that will keep her profile a certain way because of political life. But despite this, Obama manages to make the book homely, relatable.
Before I had read this book, I had prepared myself to add it to my mental list of books everyone pretends they’ve read. When the opportunity was given to me however, I decided to read it. I walked into this experience not really knowing much about Michelle Obama. I believed her to be an amazing person with outstanding values, who had done much for the country and charity work. But I also saw her as a high government official, how everyone views celebrities or people they admire. It is hard to truly see someone with so much swirling media and gossip around them.
As I mentioned, the book was most certainly paired down, but Obama’s writing was inviting. I was expecting it to be formal, statistical, rational, yet the book is very kind, open, informal, like she was explaining her life story to you in a conversation. There were little vignettes everywhere and recurring, unpolitical themes. One specific instance that comes to me is when she’s campaigning for Barack and speaks to the people as a community, not just as faceless voters; “My job, I realize, was to be myself, to speak as myself. And so I did. ‘Let me tell you about me. I’m Michelle Obama, raised on the South Side of Chicago, in a little apartment on the top floor of a two-story house’ [...] ‘I’d been conflicted about whether Barack should run at all, worried about what the spotlight might do to our family.’” (pg 236). This quote also brings forth something I thought was interesting; that even if Obama was talking about a party or a speech, she always managed to bring family into it, whether that was describing how tired her daughters felt, or any similar, silly memory.
It is clear that Michelle Obama is a family person, she never wanted to become involved in politics. Growing up in the Southside, with a big family, many friends, Michelle strives to connect with people. Because she wants to be seen as a person and more than a political figure, she makes that point in the way of her writing, bringing herself down to our level, saying things we might relate to. By doing this it poses questions like, is one’s well being more important than a whole country’s? How hard is it really to make your way in the world, even if people tell you if you work hard you can do anything? It poses racial and inequality questions. This book is not just the journey of a political family, it’s thought provoking because it is a real life, full documentation of someone who really did make it.
Overall, this book was an extreme surprise because of how well her image is manipulated. The book is written in chronological order and the farther you get into the story, the more she refers back in time to unpolitical, important memories. In those moments, I forgot about Michelle Obama, wife of president, charity worker, lawyer, etc. I saw only a little girl playing with her brother, or a teenager struggling with stress in high school. It is important to add these little parts in -not only about your personal success- because it helps people understand you and know that anyone can accomplish anything, which was certainly Obama’s message. Michelle puts so much pressure on the fact that she comes from the South Side, about the inequality and racism she’s faced. It reminds us of how our world is and it's inspiring to see someone move past all that and make such a difference. It makes us believe even more fervently that if you work hard, you can make it anywhere.

b
Bookworm1136
Feb 17, 2021

4 1/2 - 5 star read. I really enjoyed this book and found it a very interesting read. I felt that she did a good job telling the readers of her beginnings and the obstacles in place to her succeeding, and how she overcame each and every one of them. Her happy childhood despite her Dad's MS and the low income neighbourhood they lived in and her family focus on education and living the American Dream went a long way to making her the young woman she became. Her dreams of getting a college education and her plans for her life after graduation, her meeting of a young Barack Obama, their courtship, wedding and building a family together, his decision to run for public office and her life was a young mother trying to do it all. She covers the decision to run for the Presidency and the campaigns to reach that goal. She talks about her predecessors in the role of First Lady and their graciousness, and her life in the White House. Over all, she is optimistic and positive and focused on giving back to the community and helping those who need help. A thoroughly interesting and positive book to read in these troubling political times. I liked the book and I liked her.

a
Alexandralk
Feb 01, 2021

She is so eloquent and fluid in her story, and I learned so much about her journey. So easy to relate to as a working woman. I actually read her husband's afterwards and personally enjoy her perspective and style of writing better.

t
Trisky
Jan 27, 2021

Amazing and inspirational story on so many levels - showing how one can succeed with determination, hard work and the right attitude despite one's background or upbringing. She has paved the way for others ( particularly young black women), showing by example what an impact for good they can have in their families and ultimately their world. An awesome read !

k
K4Hiemstra
Jan 01, 2021

I didn't think I could love the Obama's more but hearing Michelle's story was wonderful and certainly eye opening.

b
bcslorena
Dec 13, 2020

Becoming is a must read for women who have lived a low-income life as child BUT wanted better for herself. Michelle's stories are similar to my stories...achieving academic success and then paying-it-forward by serving her community. I couldn't put the book down.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Jun 23, 2019

“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result.” - p. 43

c
cknightkc
Jun 23, 2019

“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” - p. 118

c
cknightkc
Jun 23, 2019

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” - p. 419

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

Many quotes in goodreads already, likely includes many below:

I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most — is it “angry” or “black” or “woman”?
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Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.
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Everything that mattered was within a five-block radius — my grandparents and cousins, the church on the corner where we were not quite regulars at Sunday school, the gas station where my mother sometimes sent me to pick up a pack of Newport’s, and the liquor store, which also sold Wonder bread, penny candy, and gallons of milk.
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Robbie and Terry were older. They grew up in a different era, with different concerns. They’d seen things our parents hadn’t — things that Craig and I, in our raucous childishness, couldn’t begin to guess.
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He was devoted to his car, a bronze - colored two - door Buick Electra 225, which he referred to with pride as “the Deuce and a Quarter.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

If you’d had a head start at home, you were rewarded for it at school, deemed “bright” or “gifted,” which in turn only compounded your confidence. The advantages aggregated quickly.
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Kids found one another based not on the color of their skin but on who was outside and ready to play.
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In 1950, fifteen years before my parents moved to South Shore, the neighborhood had been 96 percent white. By the time I’d leave for college in 1981, it would be about 96 percent black.
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If my mother were somebody different, she might have done the polite thing and said, “Just go and do your best.” But she knew the difference. She knew the difference between whining and actual distress.
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Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t “bad kids.” They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

For the next nine years, knowing that I’d earned it, I made myself a fat peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast each morning and consumed not a single egg.
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My grandfather, born in 1912, was the grandson of slaves, the son of a millworker, and the oldest of what would be ten children in his family. A quick-witted and intelligent kid, he’d been nicknamed “the Professor” and set his sights early on the idea of someday going to college. But not only was he black and from a poor family, he also came of age during the Great Depression.
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If you wanted to work as an electrician (or as a steelworker, carpenter, or plumber, for that matter) on any of the big job sites in Chicago, you needed a union card. And if you were black, the overwhelming odds were that you weren’t going …
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Speaking a certain way — the “white” way, as some would have it — was perceived as a betrayal, as being uppity, as somehow denying our culture.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.
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I tore through the lessons, quietly keeping tabs on where I stood among my peers as we charted our progress from long division to pre-algebra, from writing single paragraphs to turning in full research papers. For me, it was like a game. And as with any game, like most any kid, I was happiest when I was ahead.
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Advice, when she offered it, tended to be of the hard-boiled and pragmatic variety. “You don’t have to like your teacher,” she told me one day after I came home spewing complaints. “But that woman’s got the kind of math in her head that you need in yours. Focus on that and ignore the rest. ”
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Her goal was to push us out into the world. “I’m not raising babies,” she’d tell us. “I’m raising adults.”
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We weren’t going to “hang out” or “take a walk.” We were going to make out. And we were both all for it.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

I was caught up in the lonely thrill of being a teenager now, convinced that the adults around me had never been there themselves.
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Was she picturing herself on a tropical island somewhere? With a different kind of man, or in a different kind of house, or with a corner office instead of kids? I don’t know, and I suppose I could ask my mother, who is now in her eighties, but I don’t think it matters.
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If you’ve never passed a winter in Chicago, let me describe it: You can live for a hundred straight days beneath an iron-gray sky that claps itself like a lid over the city. Frigid, biting winds blow in off the lake. Snow falls in dozens of ways, in heavy overnight dumps and daytime, sideways squalls, in demoralizing sloppy sleet and fairy-tale billows of fluff. There’s ice, usually, lots of it, that shellacs the sidewalks and windshields that then need to be scrapped.
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I hadn’t needed to show her anything. I was only showing myself.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

I hoped that someday my feelings for a man would knock me sideways, that I’d get swept into the upending, tsunami-like rush that seemed to power all the best love stories.
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I’d been raised on the bedrock of football, basketball, and baseball, but it turned out that East Coast prep schoolers did more. Lacrosse was a thing. Field hockey was a thing. Squash, even, was a thing. For a kid from the South Side, it could be a little dizzying. “You row crew?” What does that even mean?
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It was hardly a straight meritocracy. There were the athletes, for example. There were the legacy kids, whose fathers and grandfathers had been Tigers or whose families had funded the building of a dorm or a library.
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If in high school I’d felt as if I were representing my neighborhood, now at Princeton I was representing my race.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

In my experience, you put a suit on any half-intelligent black man and white people tended to go bonkers.
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To me, he was sort of like a unicorn — unusual to the point of seeming almost unreal.
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Compared with my own lockstep march toward success, the direct arrow shot of my trajectory from Princeton to Harvard to my desk on the forty-seventh floor, Barack’s path was an improvisational zigzag through disparate worlds.
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He was in law school, he explained, because grassroots organizing had shown him that meaningful societal change required not just the work of the people on the ground but stronger policies and governmental action as well.
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There was no arguing with the fact that even with his challenged sense of style, Barack was a catch. He was good-looking, poised, and successful. He was athletic, interesting, and kind. What more could anyone want? I sailed into the bar, certain I was doing everyone a favor — him and all the ladies

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sfrancis2006
Nov 26, 2019

sfrancis2006 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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manish_pmp
Jul 16, 2019

manish_pmp thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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