Let me say this at the outset: I like and admire Michelle Obama for being a strong woman and succeeding in whatever she sets out to do. Focusing on just this book and not on the author was difficult, as is usual when you review a memoir of someone so famous and popular. However, I have tried to be objective in my review.
The book’s cover has Michelle, with her famous friendly smile. In the first part of the book, she describes her life with her parents and brother in a one-bedroom apartment on the south side of Chicago. This account of her childhood, her youth, her aspirations, and plans seems frank and genuine, albeit incredibly idyllic.
In the second part, by revealing glimpses of a home life that is fraught with the pressure of childcare, bills, debts, work, and parenting, Michelle tries to show that her life is as normal as any other woman. However, the writing seems relatively stilted, as if she is more conscious of her brand. Although her dislike of the dirty side of politics is clear, Becoming is another way of propagating the Obamas’ when-they-go-low-we-go-high doctrine.
Michelle describes Barack Obama as weirdly elegant, good-looking, brainy, poised, laid-back, successful, athletic, interesting, kind, and modest. She says that in their early courtship days, he never talked about material things, read lofty works of literature and philosophy, and never strayed far from a larger sense of obligation. She peppers the book with many more such descriptions of Barack. Despite all that, he comes across as an absent husband and father, whose priority is his career.
To sum up, this book was interesting, inspiring, and amusing. However, it was also underwhelming, probably because my expectations were high.