Becoming: A Letter from a Role Model

A photo of Michelle Obama's latest book "Becoming"

I always feel like I am into someone’s mind whenever I read an autobiography. Now imagine getting into a first lady’s mind! I should keep my fanatical perspective off this review, but I will have to admit, “Becoming” is well written, with such honesty and integrity, I feel like I was trusted with Michelle Obama’s secrets.

If you have already read Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, you might feel the same way. If you haven’t, I will give you a sip.

Before I dive into fascinating stories and history recounted in the book, I found Obama’s storytelling skills exquisite. I often read the book during after work hours featuring the whole day fatigue, but as I was reading, I could hear her voice, unfettered and real.

“Becoming” is a 400-page expansion of Michelle Obama’s idyllic youth and her transition from a woman who admits she hates politics to the woman who becomes the First Lady of the United States—FLOTUS.

She narrates her life in details, from growing up in a working class household in Chicago, to getting into and leaving the White House, to the sorrow of miscarriage, down to Malia’s kicks in her womb after running a couple of in-vitro fertilization testes.

Her book is divided into three sections: “Becoming Me”, “Becoming Us”, and “Becoming More”. In these sections, she opens herself and her world to us. In the most private book, we know her in a way we could not have otherwise.

She walks the reader through her childhood in the Southside Chicago. Besides her childhood experience, Michelle Obama shares her views on issues such as bullying, education and racism.

There was a point where “Becoming” felt like a letter from a role model. The way she portrays how a few key people in life can support a young girl and elevate her, so that she, in turn, can elevate others, is a heartfelt, true story of hope in a world gone far too cynical.

The book is Michelle Obama’s memoir but has some little bit of Barack Obama sprinkled in, apparently. Apart from their romantic moments that seemed unfading in almost 30 years together, Michelle talks about how she was thrown into politics by her husband’s career. Her uncertainty on how to approach politics and maintain her working-motherhood status is namely what is narrated in the “Becoming Us” section.

“Becoming” has a gallery section that makes all the stories spectacularly visual. Going through it, if you followed the news in the Obamas’ era, you could now see a debunked version of all the media coverage; feelings and scenes behind curtains.

The book is however criticized to be more of self-hyping and does not give space to views against the Obamas. Which I think is less of an issue since the book is an autobiography.


Notable sections:

On Being an “Angry Black Woman,” 265

On Being a First Lady, 283

On Her Father, 139

On Death, 145

On their Engagement, 157

On Fertility, 187

On her friends, 201

On Meeting the Queen of England, 318

On Moving Forward, 395

On Bullies, 407


You can also read:

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

“The 50th Law” by John Greene and 50 Cent,

“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilb

“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones

“Educated” by Tara Westover

Ange ILIZA is a third-year student in Journalism and Communication. She is currently the Kaminuza Star Editor in Chief and a reporter at The New Times, a print and online English newspaper.