One of the things I wished for on my Secret Santa wishlist was Becoming – Michelle Obama’s book. My Secret Santa got it for me and as soon as I felt that the gift was in the shape of a book I knew what it was and I was so excited! I spent the past week reading the 400+ page book and I was enthralled and obsessed with the entire book. Every page of it!
I won’t give anything away, because you should read it for yourself, but I’ll tell you a little about it and why I love it. In Becoming, Michelle Obama talks about her life starting from her humble beginnings in the upstairs apartment of her great aunt’s home in the South Side of Chicago. Her parents, a stay-at-home mom and blue-collar working father instilled in her and her older brother the idea that despite not having much money they could do anything they wanted with their future – the possibilities were endless – as long as they worked hard. Despite living in an increasingly dangerous part of the city, she stayed out of trouble, choosing to put all her efforts in to excelling in school and making her way to Princeton for undergrad and Harvard for law school.
I love the book because she doesn’t sugarcoat anything. She talks truthfully about the hardships she faced, the doubt people had about what her future would hold (including a school counselor who told her she wasn’t Princeton material), and her message that you measure your worth. No one else will value you if you don’t value yourself.
She would constantly ask herself whether she was good enough and it took her until her 30s or 40s to be able to answer herself and say “yes, I am good enough”. I think that a lot of what she’s experienced in life will resonate with many people. Sure, we’re not all going to be ivy league educated and become FLOTUS, but I’m sure at one time or another (or multiple times) we’ve been made to feel less than or that whatever dreams we have will never come to fruition. But, anything is possible if you have work for it, have hope, and never give up.
I loved reading about her childhood and all the places she worked and what impact her jobs had on others and what impact the jobs and people had on her. I especially loved all the stories she shared of her and Barack. I’m totally in love with them as a couple and if it’s possible, the book made me love them even more!
The book made me laugh, cry, and feel inspired. There’s a part in the book where Michelle talks about how when people compliment her mother for how great her children turned out she always responds by saying her kids aren’t that special, there’s lots of kids like them from the South Side. And that’s what I think is so refreshing about Michelle Obama. She never acts like she is better than anyone else. Yes, her story is extraordinary, but yours can be too. I saw her once on Jimmy Fallon talking about how everyone has a story. And if a girl from a working class family in an urban environment can grow up to be a Harvard educated lawyer then you can do anything too.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the book.
So many of us go through life with out stories hidden, feeling ashamed or afraid when our whole truth doesn’t live up to some established ideal. We grow up with messages that tell us that there’s only one way to be American – that if our skin is dark or our hips are wide, if we don’t experience love in a particular way, if we speak another language or come from another country, then we don’t belong. That is, until someone dares to start telling that story differently.
If you couldn’t tell, I loved this book and I think you should definitely give it a read!