What Sisters and Oblates Are Reading

Becoming

Becoming
by Michelle Obama
Crown

Sister Marlene Bertke

There are three copies of this book in the Mount library and they were always all signed out when I checked. When I did get a hold of a copy, I understood why this was true-- after I started reading it, I could not put it down. Michelle Obama has fascinated me from the beginning—she’s so real, so exciting, yet so down-to-earth. This book is really about Michelle, not about Barack, even though you do get a few new and interesting looks at him.

In the preface she wrote, “I know myself. My father taught me to work hard, laugh often and keep my word.” My mother showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice. Michelle takes us through the adventure of growing up in a crowded second floor apartment in South Chicago. She brings her neighbors and her neighborhood alive—the kids she played with and how she managed to become an accepted member of the "neighborhood tribe."

Then on to Princeton as a black student at a mostly white college, her stint as a lawyer, the vice president at a hospital, the director of a nonprofit that helps young people build meaningful career and often as the only African-American in all sorts of rooms.

The law firm at which she was employed asked her to mentor an incoming summer associate, one known as a whiz kid in the law firm. Michelle wasn’t pleased when Barack was late on Day One. She valued promptness. But they became easy friends until Barack asked her for their first date. It was very interesting to watch their relationship change from mentor/mentee, to friends, to romantic involvement. Soon, they both became dissatisfied with life as lawyers. He became more and more drawn to his former life as a community organizer and then to politics, while motherhood and working with marginalized people became her focus.

Besides the very interesting narrative in the book there are many photos that help to tell the story. As I had found it difficult to put Becoming down I found it difficult to have it end.

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