Book review of Becoming, by Michelle Obama
Written by Serena Moy
I loved this book. To say this has been a tough year would be an understatement, and I needed to read something to inspire hope in me again.
Michelle Obama’s words resonated with me on so many levels. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to relate to a woman who reaches the heights of political and professional success. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to identify with some of her struggles, growing up in the south side of Chicago, or as a powerful corporate attorney and Founding Executive Director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, a national organization that helps people find their way into careers of public service or non-profit work. Despite all the struggles and the successes, Michelle came across as grounded and approachable and she was able to bridge any life experience gaps you think you may have with her. Every time I sat down to read her book I felt as if I was hanging out with a good friend.
Related: Becoming Michelle Obama
This book was also touching and inspirational. I was brought to tears, reading about her college friend’s battle with cancer, and again as she described her father’s lifelong battle with multiple sclerosis. I was inspired by her determination to prove her high school counselor’s assessment incorrect, that she was not “Princeton material.”
There was a particular scene she describes in her book, while Barack is away in Springfield serving as the Illinois Senator, where she was juggling the task of taking care of their two young daughters, Sasha and Malia, while also working full-time. She found a moment of reprieve, eating her lunch in the car, parked at a local strip mall, and running errands for the girls. I had been there and done that. Juggling the demands of a career and raising two young children was a familiar scenario.
Of course, I loved the way she described how their lives were about to change, the first time the White House motorcade came to pick them up after Barack’s election. It was fascinating to read about her experience living in the White House. Despite all the privilege and access she was given, she still came across as incredibly grounded and credited this to her parents and her upbringing. She insisted that her daughters do their own laundry and clean their own rooms, not just relying on the White House staff.
Michelle Obama touched upon relevant topics that we are still grappling with as a society, systemic racism and the empowerment of women. If I ever have the amazing opportunity to meet Michelle Obama someday, I would like to tell her, “Thank you for sharing your story, to inspire everyone to not give up on their dreams, to not be discouraged by doubters in their lives, and to “becoming” the best of who you should be. Thank you for being a role model, for confiding in us, and for inspiring us with your words.”
Serna Moy, Recruitment Director
San Francisco Bay Area
Serena Moy’s career has encompassed over 20 years of human resources experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Her true passion is working for start-up and mission-driven organizations.