Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

By: Jacob Hola

Redwood trees are wonders known for their impressive height and stability. The strength of the trees is a result of their wide-spread root system that grows together with other trees.

In Becoming, Michelle Obama gives readers a glimpse into the vast amount of experiences that rooted her and allowed her to become the impressive leader we see now. The book isn’t written to idolize herself, rather it is written to help others understand who she is – to understand how Michelle Obama became the person that she is today.

The book is a collection of stories that begin from her childhood in Chicago and continue until after her stay in the White House. Each story is entertaining, inspiring, and deeply introspective.

Michelle is brutally honest about her mistakes, but most importantly the book shows how she grew from them. Like the lesson learned from a career in law. Partway through the book, Michelle begins to practice law in Chicago. She fought through various difficulties and disbelievers to graduate from Harvard Law (which of itself is inspiring). Despite her magnificent accomplishment, Michelle did not feel fulfilled. Readers see that in the path to prove herself, she disregarded her passions.

Learning from that mistake, Michelle then looks at her passions to direct her path and not just her capabilities. This new path focuses on her passion to help others. She works for hospitals, a university, and even a little in politics. And in those new roles, Michelle finds the fulfilment she was missing.

With each story, Becoming gives understanding to many of the actions and thoughts by Michelle. The reason for the Let’s Move! campaign. The unique issues of race that she and Barack faced while campaigning and in the presidency. The issues she faced as a woman in her personal life, career, and in the presidency. Finding balance between the career goals of spouses. Finding balance between working parents and children.

Michelle Obama’s Becoming shows how her experiences acted like roots that allowed her to stand taller and stronger. Learning from the example of Michelle, anyone can become a leader.

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