‘ I can’t remember enjoying a political memoir as much as I have Michelle Obama’s’
Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir Becoming has literally taken the world by storm, breaking sales records to become this year’s best-selling book. I was aware of the book and its pending release, but I must admit I was not particularly compelled to
Dreams buy it because I had read
From My Father
by Barrack Obama years ago and having closely followed their political lives, I arrogantly felt I knew the Obamas and their story well.
I could not be more wrong. I woke up one morning to see the book trending on twitter and on my Instagram profile, following Michelle Obama’s book tour in London.
The reviews posted on social media were so compelling that I decided to buy a copy and to see what the hype was all about.
The book has been a revelation. It shares candid behind-thescenes stories of the Obama’s life before becoming public figures. It takes you through their prepolitical careers, life in frontline politics and finally leaving the White House at the end of an eight-year tenure in office.
The memoir has opened my eyes to the darker side of politics. Michelle Obama writes from an outsider’s perspective.
I must admit that I felt sorry for her as she seemed to abhor politics but was thrust into it and the public eye.
That must have been difficult to come to terms with for a woman who simply wanted a private life, having to give up a career, way of life, home, choices and even freedom and privacy to follow another person’s dreams.
The memoir validated my own journey as a working mum and all the challenges and scrutiny you face when you dare to be bold and to use your voice to champion issues that matter to you. I laughed, I felt tearful and rejoiced as I read her memoir. Her honesty about their home life, their worries about childcare, being saddled with student debt, juggling work and family life, the struggles of sharing your life with a partner who is just as ambitious and invested in their work were a real revelation and refreshing to read. I could relate to every single one of those challenges. I also cried when my nanny gave in her notice! It seems insignificant but any family with working parents understands the pain of the loss of good quality childcare and the profound impact it can have on your ability to meet your professional commitments.
One of my favourite stories in the memoir is Michelle Obama recalling turning up for an interview with her baby. She had all but given up with finding childcare and simply decided to take her baby to the interview with her. She then proceeded to negotiate a salary that would enable her to do her best work without worrying about childcare and her student debt. The fact that she still got the job is a huge lesson in self-belief, confidence and learning to ask for what you believe you need to do your best work.
I also always wondered how she gave such emotionally rousing speeches seemingly without using any prompts. Now I know. She was so engaging and authentic because she always spoke from the heart about issues that mattered to her. Her authenticity and refusal to be anything other than herself, even in the face of harsh media and public scrutiny is inspiring.
The memoir made me see the Obamas as human. The Obamas are everyday people with the same challenges and triumphs as any one of us. We tend to see anyone on a podium especially a President and First Lady as having some superpowers that enable them to be and to do what they do. Reading this book gave me hope because the Obamas are regular people who allowed themselves to dream.
Having said that, I am sure it takes some superhuman powers to regularly wake up at 4.30 am to fit in exercise after the hectic daily schedule she describe.
What I love about the book is the honesty of it all. I have read many political memoirs but I cannot remember enjoying one as much as I have Michelle Obama’s memoir. I would absolutely recommend this book to anybody looking to dream again but also have hope that good things do happen to good people. I have nothing but praise for this book.