27 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Michelle Obama, Penguin Books, $26.99.

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”

For America’s former First Lady Michelle Obama, Becoming opens a window into her personal evolution that’s truly inspiring. It excels in being more than just a ‘deeply personal experience.’ In it she touches on her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign and her role as a mother.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an attorney and author who served as the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She was the first African-American woman to serve in this position. She called herself ‘Mom-in-chief,’ choosing to address such areas as racism, women’s rights, children’s education and the needs of military families.

A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Michelle details how ambition, hard work and embracing her authentic story helped her journey from her family’s Chicago working-class neighbourhood to a 47th floor law office, then to the White House and beyond.

More than 400 pages includes sections on Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More, together with an introduction, a preface, an epilogue and many photographs.

The memoir is intimate, authoritative and inspiring, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her. With unmistaken honesty and spirited wordplay, she describes her successes and setbacks, steadily defying expectations and living life on her own terms.

Michelle’s story motivates you to do the same. She emphasises the value of bucking against panic and doubts. How? By “stepping into our fears. It’s where the greatest truths come from – the understanding of what matters and what doesn’t, the ability to let go of the things that too often hold us down, the acceptance of ourselves and a belief in our own promise.”

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