Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

What makes a book powerful?

The lasting impact it leaves on its readers. So powerful, it is enough to motivate and inspire personal growth. Becoming by Michelle Obama is that kind of book.

However, before I start gushing about how awesome the book is, let me provide a quick synopsis of what the book is about. The synopsis is courtesy of😊


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. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

 In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.


Haha I loved it so much, I went crazy with my annotations!

Before I read this book, the first image that comes to mind when I think about Michelle Obama who served as the First Lady of the United States is that of a woman who was born into a life of privilege. She was someone that I admired, but I always thought of her as someone who would be very difficult to relate to because of everything that she has achieved in life. Yet, this book dispelled those misconceptions.

Becoming is Michelle Obama’s memoir. It provides a true-to-life rags-to-riches story of how a poor African-American girl, overcomes social barriers to be a strong successful woman who would eventually serve as the First Lady of the United States. Her drive and determination to succeed are inspiring but what really struck me to the core as I was reading her book was the question that she kept asking herself: “Am I enough?”.

Am I enough?

In her life, Michelle Obama has achieved so many milestones that it is perplexing to think how someone as successful as her would doubt her abilities and her self-worth. Many would say that it is because of the Imposter Syndrome. But her self-doubt was most likely because of the circumstances that she was born into- a woman of color whose family had little means when she was still a child.

Michelle Obama had humble beginnings. Her family had very little and because of the color of her skin, she and her family both witnessed and experienced racist attacks. Yet, despite being exposed to such cruelties, she manages to overcome them. Imparting to her readers that your circumstances do not define you because it is possible to rise above these difficulties and make a better life for yourself. Most importantly, it shows readers through her life and experiences that as a person, you are enough. Despite what the world may say.

The book gives you a glimpse of who Michelle Obama is as a person. As you progress through the story of her life readers observe that she is an intelligent and ambitious young woman who has a very strong personality. Her candor was refreshing because she did not hold back in expressing her opinions on topics that were close to her heart. Though she has a strong personality which is reflected in the tone of the book, Michelle’s honesty acted as a counterbalance because it made her relatable. Instead of portraying herself as an indomitable woman, she reveals her weaknesses to her readers by sharing her insecurities and challenges. The words were written in such a relatable voice that reading it made me feel like I was sitting down and having tea with a friend that I haven’t seen for ages, catching up on life. 

Though the book centers around Michelle Obama (It is her biography hahaha!), I also admired her parents and the way that they raised her. They encouraged her to be strong, brave, and smart. In many scenes of the book, you can observe that they never dampened her strong personality or tried to drown her voice, instead they nurtured it. In many ways, the love and guidance they provided Michelle served to shield her from their circumstances. Michelle’s supportive parents and close bond with her family were like a protective shield that prevented her from becoming too affected by her current situation when she was still a child. Eventually allowing her to rise above her circumstances. 

Earlier in my review, I mentioned that Michelle Obama’s story is a rags-to-riches story. It shows you how she struggled as a child, how she was driven by ambition as a young working woman, and how she and Obama slowly built a life together. It also shows you that despite the glamour of being the First Lady and rubbing elbows with The Queen, she was still a woman who had her fair share of difficulties. A mother who tried to give her children the chance to have a normal life despite being daughters of a president and a wife who supported the presidency of her husband even though there were times that it drained her. Yet, despite it all, she overcame these challenges.

Critics may say that this book has a political agenda but then again, this is a biography of a woman who served as the First Lady of the United States. Therefore, it will have political aspects because politics was once a huge part of her life. However, even during those chapters where she talks about her life as a First Lady, it can still be noted from the general tone and direction of the book that its overall goal is to empower its readers. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a book that will inspire its readers. Particularly for those who have experienced the discrimination that occurs simply because you look different. It is for those who feel that they are oppressed by their circumstances. For those who simply want to Become the best version of who they can be by taking control of their life’s narrative. As Michelle Obama once said: ‘your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something that you own’.

Tweetable Quotes

“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

“At fifty-four, I am still in progress, and I hope that I always will be.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

“Dominance, even the threat of it, is a form of dehumanization. It’s the ugliest kind of power.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

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