“Becoming” is an autobiography written by former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. The book is a candid recount of an accomplished life detailing the highs and lows of her incredible journey from humble beginnings in the less glamorous South Side of Chicago, to the grandeur of the White House. It is an insight into her life as America’s first African American First lady. Michelle Obama is the epitome of strength, intelligence and conviction and this book is a revelation of the enlightenment of a young woman, who embarks on a journey of life to become a better version of herself. It is divided into three parts and each part signifies a phase in her life. “Becoming me” encompasses her journey from childhood to college. The early chapters recount her life in Chicago’s south shore, the schools she went to, her friends and family who had a major influence on her while growing up.
The narration is frank and forthright when she goes down memory lane and describes her humble beginnings. She never tries to highlight her adversities but gradually let the readers discover them on their own. Incidents like her first piano recital are one such instance. Before beginning her piano performance, she froze on not finding the middle C note on a perfect piano which was so different from the broken one she had; giving readers an insight into her early life with limited means. She maps her growth from a gawky, little black kid into a strong, independent young girl by taking control of her narrative and on the way lets the reader know of her little joys and disappointments. It is interesting to know that despite her counsellor describing her as not “Princeton material” she didn’t get discouraged and that dismissal (“she was telling me to lower my sights”) only made her more resolute to get into the Ivy League. She worked hard and not only got admission to Princeton but later, went on to study in another Ivy league, Wharton Law school for her masters. “Becoming us” describes her chance meeting with her life partner, Barack Obama and how they both lived and contributed to each other’s identity. She writes compellingly about her family, kids and her marriage with honesty that only comes from a person who is confident and cognizant of who they are.
“Becoming more” gives an insight into her life as a First lady who is a public figure. She lets us take a peek into her life inside the White House and the responsibilities that come along with being in a position of power. In a way, “Becoming” is a warm, intimate coming-of-age story of a strong-minded girl who grew up to become one of the most powerful and influential women in the country. It is filled with determination, love of family and many subtle and not-so-subtle lessons which will be an inspiration for many young girls to dream big and work hard for it. The book is not just a personal account of her as a celebrity or public figure, but it is full of anecdotes that finds parallels in everyone’s life where they discover themselves as an individual with all of life’s trials and tribulations. It is about real-life lessons rather than only politics. Her motto, “When they go low, we go high,” is an inspiration for anyone feeling low because of others’ wrongdoings. It gives courage to people to pursue their dreams without stressing too much about the unimportant. In simple words, “Becoming” is not just an autobiography but an inspiration for many and her life is an example of winning against odds and never giving up.
Written by Riya Sharma (MYP 3A)