Be­com­ing

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - ON SCREEN - RM

by Michelle Obama, Pen­guin Ran­dom House

The ar­rival of Michelle Obama’s mem­oir was hotly an­tic­i­pated in The Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly of­fice – and with good rea­son. It’s a su­perb read. Elo­quently writ­ten, it tells the re­mark­able story of a young girl grow­ing up in a cramped apart­ment on the South Side of Chicago in a lov­ing, work­ing class fam­ily, who went on to be­come one of the most fa­mous women in the world when her hus­band was elected Amer­ica’s first black pres­i­dent. But with her in­tel­li­gence and feisty de­ter­mi­na­tion, Michelle was des­tined for suc­cess on her own mer­its. Be­fore meet­ing Barack Obama, she had al­ready es­tab­lished her­self as an up and com­ing cor­po­rate lawyer, but while still in her 20s was ques­tion­ing whether that was the right ca­reer for her. She ex­plains how she wanted to work with peo­ple, more than data, to make a dif­fer­ence in the world. In Barack she found a kin­dred spirit and the sup­port to change di­rec­tion. Early in their mar­riage, Barack’s own drive and re­lent­less work ethic saw him en­ter pol­i­tics and the cou­ple’s life took on a whole new focus, ul­ti­mately lead­ing to their ar­rival in Wash­ing­ton. In telling her story, she re­veals the Michelle Obama be­hind the pol­i­tics. We learn about the child­hood that shaped her, the friend­ships that in­spired her, the val­ues that ground her; she re­veals her strug­gle to have the chil­dren she craved, and then how, like all work­ing mums, she had to find a way to jug­gle ca­reer and fam­ily. She writes about her love for Barack and also how his work af­fected their mar­riage and her own as­pi­ra­tions. And then we learn about liv­ing in “the bub­ble of the pres­i­dency”, when even go­ing on a date with her hus­band was a strate­gic mis­sion in­volv­ing in­tense se­cu­rity and in­con­ve­nience to oth­ers. Fas­ci­nat­ing, in­spir­ing, it left me in awe of this ex­tra­or­di­nary woman. Highly rec­om­mended read­ing.

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