Nothing But Respect for My Forever First Lady

If you say that you don't like Michelle Obama, I would be inclined to believe that you were lying. While her husband may not be everyone's cup of tea due to political ideologies, something about Michelle Obama seems to cross party lines and appeal to everyone. For this reason, her memoir is on track to (if it hasn't already) sell more copies than both her husband's books. For this reason, her memoir sold over 700,000 copies the first day it was released in November 2018 and went on to become the best selling book of the year. For this reason, her memoir spawned a very successful North American tour and she is now touring Europe for the book with... wait for it... Beyoncé as her opener via video. For this reason, I had to read and review this memorable memoir.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

What Made Me Read This Book? I remember vividly the party we had in 5th grade on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration after he won the 2008 Presidential Election. Our teachers had us dress up and bring in snacks and we turned on the little televisions in our classrooms (that none of us realized actually worked) and we danced and laughed and smiled as the first Black president took office while his family stood right beside him. I didn't completely understand the gravity of the moment then, but I do now and that was the day I found my favorite First Lady. So when I heard she was releasing a memoir some ten years later, I put it on my Christmas list and promptly sent that Christmas list over to my mom because I knew I had to have it.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama has become so much in her lifetime. From star student (thriving from kindergarten to undergrad and beyond) to stellar lawyer to driven non-profit leader to the dream First Lady, Michelle Obama has done so much and still has the time and work ethic to do more. As this memoir traces her upbringing in her beloved Chicago to meeting her beloved husband and being thrust into the not so beloved world of politics, the reader gets an in-depth look into her life, both personal and political, like never before. We see the highest highs and the most heartbreaking lows and how she was able to grow from it all to become an icon.

My Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯ - I read this in competition with my mom. When I surprisingly got a copy from my internship, my mom was able to claim the copy she had gotten me for Christmas as her own. So during the plane rides and during our downtime while on vacation in Paris, we read this novel and raced to see who could finish first. And even in a city as stunning and amazing as Paris, in the back of my head, I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and get back to reading -- more because the story was so fantastic and compelling and less due to the ongoing competition.

Why*? For many reasons, I loved this memoir. One of those reasons, maybe the top reason, was the vulnerability. For political purposes, Michelle Obama has been a... presentation (?) as much as she has been a person. I mean to say that in many ways, she has had to appear a certain way, censor a certain way, circulate a certain way to look the best not just for herself, or her family, or her husband (and a presidency some thought would never happen) -- but also for all of America and the wider world. She was on stage from the time her husband began his first senatorial campaign to the moment he passed the presidential baton to... the new guy. In this novel, we get Michelle, a girl from the Southside whose life took her on a journey she never expected or planned (and as a planner, that was sometimes more difficult for her to deal with than she ever let on). In over 400 glorious pages and through pictures so great we didn't deserve them, we really get to learn who Michelle Obama is, learn how she became the legend and inspiration she has become, and learn how to become more in our own lives.

*There's much more I want to share here, including some favorite moments of mine, but I really don't want to spoil anything because it was so fun to read and discover and there's some really, really good stuff in there. Especially in her youth.

Favorite Quote*: "I woke one night to find him staring at the ceiling, his profile lit by the glow of streetlights outside. He looked vaguely troubled, as if he were pondering something deeply personal. Was it our relationship? The loss of his father?

'Hey, what're you thinking about over there?' I whispered.

He turned to look at me, his smile a little sheepish. 'Oh,' he said. 'I was just thinking about income inequality.'"

*Okay technically that quote isn't really about Michelle Obama or the memoir itself, but I just loved their relationship in the book so much and that quote and moment was just so sweet to me and really made its way into my memory. The he by the way is Barack Obama. Stunning.

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