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Issue 1791 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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A review on Michelle Obama's 'Becoming'

A fan holding Obama's book Photo: Alex Nemo Hanse (@thefoolies) on Unsplash


in Issue 1791

To the woman who stood strong 

Through the obstacles that seemed to throng 

Their way to her, obstructing her path, 

She calmly faced their wrath 

And emerged victorious in the conquest, 

Keeping her only quest 

In mind, because she knew she would only rest 

When people would be treated as one, 

When people felt confident in their powers,  

When they tower 

Over their mistakes, their pain, 

As though their stories of success have only begun. 

Because she has fought it all, the prejudice, the ruckus, 

To prove to the entire universe, 

That in the poem about her life,  

She is the most important verse, 

And is always much more than the FLOTUS.

Michelle Obama: an enigma. A woman who may have lived a simple, ordinary life; but breathed and lived dreams. A woman who questioned stereotypes and strove to prove her society wrong by persevering towards her goals without hesitation. A woman who knew she wanted her identity to comprise the intelligent and independent person she aimed to be. 

“Becoming” is a memoir that discusses her inspiring journey, how she finds herself through each stage of her life and her belief that every phase of life involves continuous evolution and learning. Three phases of her life have been delineated in the book; Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More, where she details her life stretching from her childhood up to the end of the Presidential term. I was able to visualise her entire journey as though I had travelled through all the platforms of life alongside her, armed with a suitcase brimming with inspiration and insight. 

The writing style that Michelle Obama has adopted is phenomenal. Obama describes herself in the book as not much of a writer, but I was astounded at this, because I could hardly believe my eyes. She can make you experience a whole concoction of emotions in a matter of seconds! I laughed at recollections of children calling her a “kinda tall lady” and smiled through accounts of cute, hilarious moments between her and former President, Mr. Obama. I genuinely found myself laying the book down and crying at the passing of her grandfather, father, and best friend, who all meant the entire world to her. My empathy got the better of me with her narrative of the pressures and flipsides of being First Lady, and how privacy became almost unheard of. The ambitious side of me trembled when she wrote about how she fought tooth and nail to shatter the glass ceiling and break every racial and gender stereotype she had ever heard. She went on to become the proud recipient of two Ivy League degrees and secure the job of her dreams in the very building that she looked at with starry eyes as a child. 

And yet, despite her multitude of achievements, she chooses to stay grounded and remember the lessons that her humble childhood life taught her. She constantly recalls her best friend’s vivacious spirit, her piano lessons with her aunt, and the importance of hard work that her simple parents had taught her and attempts to maintain a low-key lifestyle whenever possible. The ostentatious lifestyle of the White House never deterred her from having long chats with the staff or ensuring that her children made their own beds every morning. This simply teaches us that it is essential to look beyond just ourselves and BECOME MORE by giving back to the society that has been infinitely benevolent to us. 

I would happily recommend this wonderful memoir to anybody, and I guarantee that you will not be able to put the book down as you skim through the beautiful words that Michelle Obama has penned in an effort to inspire us all. 


Michelle Obama

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