At a glance, Becoming appears to be a fairytale story. “Poor” girl from the Southside of Chicago; married the “prince” of Hawaii and they lived happily ever after in a palace called the White House.
In the early/middle parts of the book I thought Michelle Obama sounded boastful. My thoughts – “Oh wow, Michelle, good on you! What a lovely story! What a high achiever you are.” 👏👏👏
I had to dig deeper. There must be more purpose to this book. How is this story relevant to me? What sets it apart from another feel-good/success/romance story?
But I loved every page of this book. Unlike fairytale stories, Michelle is no damsel in distress. She doesn’t need rescuing. In fact, does the rescuing by lifting others.
Michelle is the fairy godmother with no magical powers at all. Just with the hope and the belief that things can be and should be better. Expecting others, corporations/organisations, to care and do the same especially for the next generation. Instilling belief to those who feel left out – they too matter and they too belong. When she utters these words – magic happens in the hearts and minds of the young students (especially).
This book is about so many things. You can get a very different message from it depending on where you are at in life. I am a mother and a wife, so I related to her story with these roles. I have listed below the things that I found I related to the most, found profound and melted my heart.
Defining who you are.
“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”
Not all of us are in the public eye, but this apply to all of us. Even when I was a teenager, I did not bow to peer pressure. I don’t care if I am a called a spoil sport or a kill joy. “It ain’t me.”
This is what I am teaching my kids now too. This is what Michelle talks about in front of thousands of students. Don’t allow society to dictate who you are because of the way you look or where you are from. You show them who you are.
When Michelle was growing up, she was lucky to have a community of people that constantly told her she matters. It is the same message she gives to her daughters and to the new generation. “I was determined to express some version of it to every young person I encountered.” “You belong. You matter. I think highly of you.”
Importance of education and/or mentorship for young individuals.
By encouraging the younger generation especially those underprivileged; believing and investing in them that they belong (in Princeton or Oxford) – they will flourish and they will achieve.
The book is also about the importance of family; family love and support.
Excellence over perfection
“They weren’t striving for perfect, but managed somehow to be excellent … dropped any masquerade and were just powerfully, and instructive themselves.” This is how Michelle described Susan and Valerie – two important role models, advisers and definitely friends of hers.
Hope brings miracles
She was particularly disappointed at the outcome of the presidential election when their ‘reign’ ended. Everything that she and her team stood for and fought for looks like it’s going to be undone. However, they are steadfast that they have done enough to keep the so called ‘fire burning’. The most obvious examples being the first black First Family. Others – you have to read the book to find out.
I urge you to read the book. It’s long but I understood the story and her message. I have books that I have to read again as it’s concept I cannot fully grasp.* Becoming is very ‘relatable’ and it can be your story.
⬇️ Please comment below, your thoughts or feelings about Michelle’s book if you have read it. Please share a favourite book you recommend or a book you would like me to read and review. ⬇️
*Written by people with medical and/or scientific background and the later often referring to theories in physics. 😳