Book Review: A Close Look At Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’

NOTE: (Exams and college applications have swamped me, but I couldn’t turn down a good read.)

Hello, everyone! It’s Tara, and today I’m going to be writing a more personal post that’s slightly different from my typical science and tech-related posts. As the title might suggest, I’m writing a book review. I think it’d be a good idea to include the announcement that this site will be revamped heavily in 2019, to be more organized and branch out more in many respects. For example, I intend on seriously creating educational or personal videos that would be tied back to this website. I don’t want Neurologic to be a simple blog on things that fascinate me, but I want it to grow with me, even in university as I explore my interests at a closer level. I also want to make book reviews a regular part of my website, as I have read lots of books in the past few years, and have lots of comments to make on them. I strongly believe reading is the key to fulfillment and true understanding of different topics, even if it’s at a surface level. When you really think about it, a book is heartfelt– it carries the memoirs, the ideas, the sweat (not literally), the stress, and the passion of the writer. As the reader, all we have to be is immersed into it, ready to go on a journey. I think for a book I picked up three days ago, Michelle Obama was able to do just that.

Now, I’m not one to mix myself or my views into politics, but there are certain viewpoints that I personally hold that influence my opinion about the ‘red team’ and ‘blue team’. Michelle Obama delivers an autobiography beautifully. It’s evident that she took her painstaking time on perfecting this book. Prior to reading this, I must say, I viewed President Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, as above-human, perfect figures who have had their successes and failures. They were figureheads to me, and I admired them both for being able to tackle the world’s issues with what seemed like ease. We tend to forget the massive support the Obama administration has had, though, and Michelle highlights the help and efforts of so many individuals throughout her book. Michelle’s autobiography exceeded my expectations– I felt as if I had lived her entire life, which wouldn’t be completely wrong, in many senses. She had written her whole life story, from being a stellar student from the South Side of Chicago to her challenges with the LSAT while at Princeton, even going into depth about her prior relationships and hardships with friends. The book builds up continuously, and when Michelle arrives at Harvard Law School, she meets the eccentric Barack Obama– and that’s where the story gets better. They both get together and move to Chicago, and eventually, Obama strides into politics, after years of self reflection, lecturing, and writing. Michelle not only gives us a look into her thoughts and mindset but also into how Obama’s brain works. Eventually, Obama gains fame after his 2004 DNC Keynote speech as an Illinois senator, and people begin to want him to be their president. Michelle lets us in on her conflicted thoughts but allows for it– which would prove to be a life-changing decision. The book, being fairly recent, goes into Trump’s presidency as well, although Michelle had some conflicted thoughts on his ideological stances and actions. Overall, it was extremely well executed, and I felt like I had grown as a person at the end of it. A good book leaves you thinking minutes, even hours, after having read it, and this book did just that for me.

Throughout this book, my conceptions of a ‘perfect’ presidential life broke down. The Obamas have had it tough, multiple times. Sure, living in the White House can be rather envious, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, the public media can be rather unforgiving. Michelle repeatedly brings herself down to earth, making her extremely human in her autobiography. She discusses the moments she had gotten criticized for raising her voice against certain issues, and even for wearing certain dresses and outfits. (P.S. Even right now, the media is focusing on her glittery Balenciaga boots. Seriously.) The media is always looking to find ‘mistakes’, especially for the first black first lady, and having these mistakes fed to radical conservative news sources. When you’re at the top, the enemies are always pining after you. Rumors and nasty words can easily spread about them, so Michelle makes an analogy to her life being like that of the swan– on the surface, very beautiful, but underneath, swimming and struggling to keep afloat.

Overall, I thought this autobiography was very humbling and gave me a lifetime of knowledge and personal experiences on the political scene. I haven’t read an autobiography in a while, but Michelle executed the chronological order of her work so perfectly, there weren’t many flaws to pick at. I wish her success in her book promotions, and I recommend this to you, if you’re willing to read, that is. Definitely a 9/10 rating. 

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