Publisher: Crown
Published: 11/13/2018
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S.

Quick-Read Synopsis of Becoming by Michelle Obama

Is self-doubt holding you back?

What about discrimination?

Do you constantly aim to fix problems that others are ignoring?

If so, then “Becoming” has some valuable insights to share with you.

“There are truths we face and truths we ignore”  -Michelle Obama

In “Becoming”, we are welcomed into the former First Lady, Michelle Obama’s life as she shares her experience in the White House while her husband, Barack, was leading the great American nation.

Michelle shares with readers her background that made her who she is today. And sheds light to what motivates and drives her exciting public service career.

Her primary focus in the book shifts from family and politics to her own social justice missions. Though like most of us, she admits to hating politics, she found her own reasons for involving herself in government alongside her husband’s dream.

The Big Take-Aways:

  • You must make the most out of every situation.
  • Racism is still present.
  • You must always believe in yourself.

Here is what we learned from “Becoming”:

  • The Obamas were not welcomed as America’s leaders kindly.

Michelle describes the cruel comments and unwelcoming experience being the first black family to lead the American nation. Her husband, Barack was accused of not being American because of his race. And, Michelle was endlessly stereotyped as an “angry black woman” every time she spoke out against racism.

This social hardship only motivated Michelle to prove her worth to the people of America.

She did this by speaking outwardly about color and discrimination, as well as organizing social justice campaigns.

  • Michelle’s upbringing was colorful.

Michelle, a native of Chicago, gives a backdrop of her childhood for the reader. She was born in a working-class neighborhood of mixed race.

Her father was a hard-working boiler tender and suffered from multiple sclerosis, while her mother was a stay-at-home mom to Michelle and her brother.

Michelle was always encouraged by her mother to solve her own problems.

Michelle was always debating, even from a young age, and felt strongly about discrimination and prejudices.

She attended Princeton University for undergrad, then attended Harvard University for law school.

  • How Barack and Michelle came together:

Michelle was working as a mentor for law students and Barack was her first mentee.

Barack was immediately attracted to Michelle, making advances and trying to sweet-talk her.

But Michelle, being the career-oriented lady that she was, tried to remain professional in their mentor-mentee relationship.

Eventually, Barack’s charming words got the best of her and the two got together and engaged in a long-distance relationship while Barack attended university.

They then got married in front of Michelle’s extended family, at a huge ceremony. The rest of their love story is history.

  • Michelle’s career change:

Michelle was trained and skilled as a lawyer, but she was unhappy with her work. Finding it dull and uninteractive.

She wanted to be in the action and help people directly, rather than through the legal system.

Michelle researched how to get into public service, while Barack was striving toward national politics.

Barack supported Michelle and also looked to do service work outside of government.

  • Michelle’s thoughts on politics and the campaign trail experience:

Michelle is outwardly open about her dislike of politics.

Michelle was not happy when Barack decided to delve into national politics, especially when she had to parent practically solo.

Though Michelle disliked politics, she liked helping and was talented at public speaking. She used public speaking to her husband’s advantage during his election campaign. Michelle was easy-to-understand, kind, and well-spoken.

Michelle’s speeches were torn apart and taken out of context. This enraged Michelle who did not like her character being questioned.

“In general, I felt as if I couldn’t win, that no amount of faith or hard work would push me past my detractors and their attempts to invalidate me. I was female, black, and strong, which to certain people, maintaining a certain mind-set, translated only to ‘angry’. It was another damaging cliché, one that’s been forever used to sweep minority women to the perimeter of every room, an unconscious signal not to listen to what we’ve got to say.” - Michelle Obama

Racism was still a huge part of the political campaign as her reputation was being slandered. And, Michelle worked to unmask it and bring the prejudices to light.

  • Michelle’s activist missions:

During her husband’s time in the White House, Michelle made the best of the situation by establishing her own public service initiatives.

“It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be.” -Michelle Obama

Michelle created a program to help parents and teachers establish better eating and exercise habits for the children of America.

She became a main activist for educational rights for girls, both in America and globally.

Michelle also worked to improve the lives of American military members and their families.

She was, and still is, a believer in boosting the self-esteem of children and people everywhere through specialized programs and her speeches.


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