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Becoming: The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller Kindle Edition
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Intimate, inspiring and set to become hugely influential ― Sunday Times
Inspirational without trying to be . . . a coming-of-age tale, a love story and a family saga all in one -- Angie Thomas ― TIME
This revealing memoir offers new insights into her upbringing on the south side of Chicago and the highs and lows of life with Barack Obama. . . Becoming is a 400-page expansion of this essential doctrine ['when they go low, we go high'], without compromising a refreshing level of honesty -- Afua Hirsch ― Guardian
An inspirational memoir that also rings true -- Gaby Wood ― Daily Telegraph, Five Stars
This is a rich, entertaining and candid memoir. And overall she's a fun person to sit alongside as she tells you the story of her life, warts and all. . . it is as beautifully written as any piece of fiction -- Viv Groskop ― i, Five Stars
In the best moments of Becoming, the miracle of Michelle Obama arises ― Vanity Fair
Obama's memoir is a genuine page-turner, full of intimacies and reflections. . . Allied to this candour is a steeliness of purpose. It is no exaggeration to say that every page of this book is, explicitly or otherwise, a reproach to Donald Trump, and a call-to-arms to those who would defeat the 45th President and all that he stands for -- Matt D'Ancona ― Evening Standard
I found myself lifting my jaw from my chest at the end of every other chapter, not because of any seedy insight into stories I'd always wondered about, but because, armed as I was with knowledge about her career, her mannerisms, and even her elbow-heavy dancing, this was not the Obama I thought I knew. She was more -- Kuba Shand-Baptiste ― Independent
Inspiring. . . After 421 pages of Becoming, I closed the book hoping that one day she would use her formidable intelligence, humanity - and humour - to offer a more tangible vision for how America might fight the rising tides of polarisation and hate ― Financial Times
Open and engaging. . . Obama writes with candour about the good times and bad ― Daily Express
Of course, Becoming is Michelle Obama's story, of how she moved from a girl on the South Side of Chicago to becoming one of the most powerful women in the world. But in the final pages of the book, Obama writes, "It's all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor." Here, Obama is pushing us to reckon with our own becomings - to realise our own story and to have the power to tell it ― The Pool
She's a woman we've all fallen in love with because she radiates joy and wisdom, and Becoming encapsulates this perfectly. It's also deeply honest - reading it makes you feel as though she's your close friend opening up to you ― Red Online
[A] polished pearl of a memoir ― New York Times
Obama writes with a refreshing candor ― The Atlantic
This beautifully written memoir... Twenty-five years ago she fell in love with a driven idealist, a man determined not to accept the world as it was. She feared his forceful intellect and ambition might swallow hers; instead, she found her voice ― Sunday Times
Becoming serenely balances gravity and grace, uplift and anecdote.... Becoming is frequently funny, sometimes indignant or enraged, and when Michelle describes her father's early death from multiple sclerosis it turns rawly emotional ― Observer
This is a vivid and interesting account and all of that is to her credit. I certainly thought better of her by the end: she has put her heart into this ― The Times
This is undeniably a political book, both a fierce critique of Donald Trump's administration's politics of hatred and a powerful remind of a better, more compassionate America ― Metro
Candid, engaging. . . To read her reflections is to recall and hope for a better America. Mrs Obama pulls back the curtains around their lives in a way she could not while Mr Obama was in office. Besides her lovely turn of phrase, she is a gifted and empathetic observer ― The Economist
Deeply moving. . . Becoming is fundamentally about how to be a person in the world, how to live a purposeful life, and how to use the chances you have been given ― New Stateman
Her wonderful candid and affecting autobiography, Becoming. . . brims over with such emotional truthfulness. . .what a tale. With its generosity of spirit, self-knowledge and hope, it is the perfected antidote to the man who now lives in the White House. A plangent, defiant, honest and uplifting book ― Sunday Telegraph, Five Stars
What a memoir. What a woman. ― Spectator
This brilliantly written and emotionally authentic memoir fills in some important gaps...not just a fascinating read but a genuinely moving one too ― Mail on Sunday, Five Stars --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B079Z661B7
- Publisher : Penguin; 1st edition (13 November 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 27031 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 440 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0241334144
- Best Sellers Rank: 2,768 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Living in Australia I saw the Obama’s in the news, of course, but I hadn’t followed them all that closely. I hadn’t felt a need to—after all, they were doing a great job. They were a highly respected first family, doing America proud. I saw the important bits, the bits that Australian media felt worthy of a spot on the evening news, but not a lot more. And although I listened to Barack’s 3 hour speech at the Nelson Mandela centenary celebration, I didn’t know all that much about Michelle even at that stage.
But in reading her book, I feel like I’ve come to know her. I learned so much about what a wonderful human being she is ... the hard work and perseverance that got her into Princeton, the long hours she spent as a lawyer trying to prove and better herself, and then, when she’d made it to the top, her constant efforts to make the world a better place ... for her own daughters as well as everyone else’s.
There was even one point, towards the end of the book, when I read about how she’d done Carpool Karaoke, and why. So of course I went to YouTube and watched it right away, and it made the whole experience so much more personal... almost like I was right there in the car with her.
Anyway, I loved the book, and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read about her life, her background, small snippets of what it was like living in the White House, and her hopes for the future. She’s an inspiring woman, and she makes me feel both proud and hopeful.
Also noted, the usual American sense of outrage at the gun deaths in the US but the apparent inability to note how aberrant this is relative to other so-called developed countries, and to use this in argument. US public figures shy from comparing their country unfavorably to others, even when logical.
Good luck to good people like her and her husband who hold hope for change in what seems from the outside to be a irredemiably failed social experiment.
Top reviews from other countries
As much as we may not like it or agree with it, political office holders normally pave the way for their successors (whether they intend to or not). Obama's choices paved the way for Trump to campaign and to win the Presidency, much like G W Bush's choices paved the way for Obama. Michelle is content to not interpret the results, but bash some of the electorate for not voting for a woman and for voting for someone she describes in insults. For a family that is normally revered for deep analysis of complicated issues, Michelle's writing style and choice of words on this was very disappointing and in my opinion, narrow-minded. Michelle comes across as believing America was best and meaningful when her husband was it's President. She has a hard time seeming to come to terms with the fact that people might make different choices or that she and her husband will have to leave behind the mantle of being responsible for the nation, in their respective areas.
It was a disappointing and short handed book in my mind. Fans of the Obama's will find much to enjoy, I am sure. But those who enjoy deep analysis of history, will be disappointed. I hope that Barrack's book will be more insightful and deeper (The Case for the Defense - Part 2).
I am neither American, nor of color, nor (God forbid) will I ever be involved in any political activities. Yet, like all my friends who have read “Becoming”, I am completely charmed by it, and by Michelle Obama. A lot has been said about the book and its appeal. You just cannot finish this book and just forget it; her story will probably stay with you for life. I would like to add my own little inputs below (in no particular order) as to why this book was one of the most wonderful books that I read this year (or any year), and why, like millions of people around the world, I find Michelle Obama’s story so powerful and uplifting.
“Your story is what you have…It is something to own”
A book can be beautifully written, but I don’t really care for it if it doesn’t touch my heart. And Becoming was a very, very emotional read. Here we have a lady who has lived in the White House for eight years, and who speaks with such pride and love about her working class parents, the cramped little apartment she spent her happy childhood in, in the poorer section of Chicago, about her relatives, all blue-collared, like her parents. This is who I am, she says, this my story. “I had nothing or I had everything. It depends on which way you want to tell it”. We can think of many women in her position who would perhaps underplay their background, hide some of the facts, but not a strong, direct, honest woman like her. It is this humility, the pride and the self-respect with which she shares her background with the rest of the world, which will touch you to the core.
“…they (my friends in South Chicago), like me, were descended from slaves”
Like Michelle points out, repeatedly, let us not forget for a minute her roots – that not too long ago, her forefathers were working as slaves in a country they were forcefully brought to, loaded like animals onto ships from Africa. “I was the great-great-granddaughter of a slave named Jim Robinson, who was probably buried in an unmarked grave somewhere on a South Carolina plantation”.
America might have got its first black President, but – a century and a half after the Civil War of 1865, and more than half a century after the Civil Rights Act of 1961 - racial discrimination is still alive and kicking in that country.
“I carried a history with me, and it wasn’t that of presidents of First Ladies…The struggles of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King were more familiar to me than that of Eleanor Roosevelt or Mamie Eisenhower”. Yes, I had to Google Rosa Parks, and Coretta King, and if the names are not familiar to you, I suggest you do so as well, to understand what a long journey the Obamas have undertaken, and what she refers to as the “push and pull” of history.
Her description of her Uncle Terry, who had once been a Pullman porter, is particularly poignant, and will go straight to your heart “Years after retirement, Terry still lived in a state of numbed formality – impeccably dressed, remotely servile, never asserting himself in any way…It was as if he’d surrendered a part of himself as a way of coping”. I didn’t know what a Pullman porter was, and I again had to Google it. What I read had me in tears. It was too late for Uncle Terry, but not for the next generation of African-Americans, and not for his brave, intelligent, hardworking niece and nephew.
The power of education, or “I will show you “
Michelle reached where she did through sheer hard work and intelligence, and an enormous desire to make something of herself in life. This is perhaps the only right way to “become” what you want to be. “Education had been the primary instrument of change in my own life, my lever upward in the world”. “Strive” is an important word in Ms. Obama’s dictionary – perhaps the most important.
Every schoolgirl (or boy) should be encouraged to read this book, because the lessons it impart are invaluable. It is also a book for parents to read, for the way in which Michelle and her brother were brought up by their parents is inspirational. Their parents treated them like adults, encouraged them to take their own decisions, and constantly reiterated that – “you belong. You matter. I think highly of you.”
A yin-and-yang duo
In Becoming, we gain a whole new perspective of Barack Obama; not the president, but the boyfriend, husband, father and son. We meet a man who is least interested in the rat race, or in any material trappings. What excites him, and what he is passionate about are books and ideas, especially ideas to make the world a better place - “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”. Unlike Michelle, he is “hardwired for optimism”, and while she is a detail person, a box-checker, Barack is quite at home with “the unruliness of the world”. It was clear early on their relationship that “We were built differently”. Yet their relationship thrived, and when Barack’s aspirations became clear, she supported him, not because she thought he would win (“Barack was a black man in America…. I really didn’t think he could win”), but because she loved him. The rest is, of course, history.
The end of Obama’s term, and the next occupant
When she walks out (almost with relief, it seems) of the “most famous address” in the world, she begins a fresh journey – all over again. And that, perhaps, is what awes you and touches you most about her – that she doesn’t let her years as the FLOTUS define her, or restrict her in any way. While being a loving, supportive wife and mother, she could never be JUST Mrs. Obama, the wife of arguably the most powerful man in the world. She was, and will always be, a person in her own right. A person who has strived all her life, and will continue to strive, to be the best she can be - constantly evolving, constantly reinventing herself.
The White House was definitely not the end of the road for her – “you are left in many ways to find yourself again”. As is her nature, she makes no bones about the current occupant of the White House, expressing her opinion in a direct, upfront manner. “..we were up against a bully, a man who among other things demeaned minorities and expressed contempt for POWs, challenging the dignity of our country with practically every utterance”.
“Becoming” is about Michelle’s childhood, her Ivy league education, her career, her abiding love for her husband and children and her country, her years at the White house, but above all, it is about a woman who steadfastly holds on to her identity in spite of being married to the most powerful man in the world. She was never a “missus defined by her mister”,
“At 54, I am still in progress, and I hope that I always will be”.
It’s people like the Obamas who make America great. Not the bullies who are currently in power – they take America back to the dark ages. That, at least is my view; your views may be different – but hey, it’s a free world, isn’t it?
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