I am not much of a fan of Memoirs/Autobiographies. Or rather the ones I tried reading earlier did not interest me much and were left unread. But this one, my latest read Becoming by Michelle Obama , her memoir has proved to be a compelling read and kept me glued till the end.
Before I tell more about the book, for those wondering of the difference between an Autobiography and Memoir, I can give the explanation. Although the difference between the two is blurry, an autobiography is an entire chronological detail of a person’s life events with stress on history and facts, whereas a memoir is one featuring some parts of a person’s life with more importance given to emotions. Both the terms are usually used interchangeably. And this is a memoir of Michelle Obama, the First Lady of United States of America from 2009-2017.
“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child— What do you want to be when you grow up ? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
A laudatory work of reflection of life before and as the First Lady Of United States of America, these words caught my attention in the very first few pages of the book as she narrates pondering how her life has gone back to normal from an extra-ordinary one. I paused for a while when I read this line and realised how true this is. Becoming what you are now has been an on-going process and it is going to continue till the very end for a man’s desire as we take different roles in our personal as well as professional lives. It very much justifies the title of the book because Michelle throughout her journey tried to become something better in every sphere of her life.
She takes along the readers in her journey from her childhood till she made way for the next First family to take the role. This book is a window to her personality. Always making her voice heard and her identity defined right from her early school days till her tenure as the First Lady. Her easy flowing emotions through the chapters makes it overwhelming as well as inspiring for various women out there trying to make a mark in their lives. Her slightest doubts as well as strongest of beliefs, disappointments leading to triumphs and challenges made her excel in every role she played. As much as she has described her childhood memories fondly, at the same time, she has narrated her life as a working mother. Juggling between her job and two young girls with her husband trying to anchor himself into the arena of politics made her life even more complicated during regular campaigns. There are plenty of examples where it shows ambitious side of her personality and character. Her benevolence in manner and deep concern in her relationships shows her warm nature.
I was fascinated by the details of the life she led in the most prestigious address in the world and how her life along with her family’s changed forever. The tall windows, massive hallways, armoured vehicles, security officials making note of their each and every movement, staffers at their beck and call, all of them form one side of the coin. On the other hand, they had to sacrifice their privacy as numerous people had their eyes on them every second for eight years and the world at large with their actions monitored as well as each word scrutinised.
The memoir throws light on her enthusiastic initiatives and impactful work concerning Food and Nutrition of children stressing on their healthy living, empowering young girls, mentoring young women to take up careers by encouraging to chase their dreams and also supporting military families. Throughout her life whether as an executive or by being in the role of the First Lady, she has put her time and effort into working towards the minority sect of the community, making their voices heard for equality and making their lives better.
Making of the First lady came with all the criticism and judgements as much as it gave her the respect she deserved. She carried herself with grace and elegance and went on to achieve her milestones making her one of the renowned woman with substance. This book has definitely encouraged me to look for some more memoirs to dive right into someone else’s world and see the world from their eyes. I would definitely love to read more of such works and enlightening life stories. I felt it was a lot more effective than her documentary available on Netflix. Easy to read and definitely a page turner, this book is highly recommended even for not so avid readers. Not being one, I managed to finish it in a week’s time. So go ahead and grab your copy. Happy Reading 😊