Becoming

Becoming

Large Print - 2018
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Michelle Obama describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private in a deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, 2018.
Edition: First large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525633754
0525633758
Characteristics: xvi, 675 pages (large print), 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
large print

Opinion

From Library Staff

A Well-Read Black Girl Book Club pick

November 2018 selection

November 2018 selection

List - First Reads Recs
ChiPubLib_Adults Sep 12, 2019

"A wonderful insight into her south side of Chicago life, struggles as an African-American woman in college, and her accomplishments as First Lady." - Cynthia

Outstanding Literary Work, Biography / Auto Biography


From the critics


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b
Bookworm1136
Feb 17, 2021

4 1/2 - 5 star read. I really enjoyed this book and found it a very interesting read. I felt that she did a good job telling the readers of her beginnings and the obstacles in place to her succeeding, and how she overcame each and every one of them. Her happy childhood despite her Dad's MS and the low income neighbourhood they lived in and her family focus on education and living the American Dream went a long way to making her the young woman she became. Her dreams of getting a college education and her plans for her life after graduation, her meeting of a young Barack Obama, their courtship, wedding and building a family together, his decision to run for public office and her life was a young mother trying to do it all. She covers the decision to run for the Presidency and the campaigns to reach that goal. She talks about her predecessors in the role of First Lady and their graciousness, and her life in the White House. Over all, she is optimistic and positive and focused on giving back to the community and helping those who need help. A thoroughly interesting and positive book to read in these troubling political times. I liked the book and I liked her.

a
Alexandralk
Feb 01, 2021

She is so eloquent and fluid in her story, and I learned so much about her journey. So easy to relate to as a working woman. I actually read her husband's afterwards and personally enjoy her perspective and style of writing better.

g
GYMG4L2011
Jan 27, 2021

Amazing and inspirational story of an incredibly devoted woman who despite her poorer background and race / colour, rose to become a much loved and respected First Lady. Giving up her corporate well paid Lawyer career, she chose instead to devote herself to empowering young disadvantaged women and improving educational options for many others - so they might have a chance to change not only their own course but in the process influence others for the betterment of the world in which they live.
She did all this while supporting her husband's political career and bringing up two young girls.

k
K4Hiemstra
Jan 01, 2021

I didn't think I could love the Obama's more but hearing Michelle's story was wonderful and certainly eye opening.

b
bcslorena
Dec 13, 2020

Becoming is a must read for women who have lived a low-income life as child BUT wanted better for herself. Michelle's stories are similar to my stories...achieving academic success and then paying-it-forward by serving her community. I couldn't put the book down.

w
wendyc100
Nov 26, 2020

Interesting read about the life of a classy, intelligent woman!!!

t
taeyunericakang
Nov 22, 2020

Becoming Book Review
Coming from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Michelle Robinson grew up in a well educated and happy, yet poor household. Centering her life around her education, Robinson had a supportive family who was always trying to get her the best life experience, both in and out of school. Her grandfather played a big role in her life and was always giving her advice. He even built her a makeshift room, which was basically just half of the living room, shared with her older brother, separated by a curtain. As she graduates high school, Robinson makes it into Princeton University. Continuing her education, she talks about the racial blocks she faced while attending the new school and even just going about life. After university, she goes on to work at a law firm where she meets future husband, Barack Obama. The two get married and work together on Barack’s campaign to be president. When elected, Michelle Robinson Obama goes on to make great changes to the country regarding race and finances. This book is a very insightful memoir and I recommend it to people who are able to understand heavier topics. It talks about racial discrimination and finance issues as well as education systems and politics. However, along with the heavy topics, the memoir is able to very descriptively explain the inspiring story of Michelle Robinson Obama.

NicoleB_KCMO Nov 19, 2020

I highly recommend the audiobook version narrated by Mrs. Obama herself! I had no idea how accomplished Michelle Obama was before getting to the White House and I am so glad I read this to learn more about her past, education, and thoughts on politics. It's a very candid memoir and kept me engaged and wanting to keep listening as often as I could!

m
mikkojuan
Nov 10, 2020

An incredible look into this incredible woman's life.

i
iloveseaotters
Oct 22, 2020

As much as I love Michelle Obama, I wasn't that interested in reading this book. However, from the very first word, she had me completely engrossed. I felt like she was sitting across from me telling me about her childhood and about how she became to be not only the First Lady, but also the wonderful person that she is. I admired her before, but as someone else stated in their review, reading this book made me love her even more. Although I have never met her (and probably never will), I feel like she has become a friend.
She writes with such passion and honesty and I'm sure that a lot of her experiences were hard for to write. One passage that really resonated with me begins: "It hurts to love after someone has died." I lost my husband 22 months ago, and it was nice to know that someone "gets it".
Michelle's story made me laugh, cry and wish I was friends with her. My favorite part of the book was her story of meeting President Obama. In that aspect, this book is a very sweet love story. It was nice to see a different side of him, which makes him "human". On another personal note, he was and will always be my favorite President which is why I loved this book so much.
I'm sure there is a lot more I could say about this book, but I will say this; with the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I didn't really finish it. Honestly, a small percentage of it was a little boring and toward the end I found myself skimming the chapters. But I stand by my review; it's an excellent book and an insight to someone I admire even more for having read it. Actually it made me want to read more autobiographies (both political and not), and perhaps write my own.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Jun 23, 2019

“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result.” - p. 43

c
cknightkc
Jun 23, 2019

“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” - p. 118

c
cknightkc
Jun 23, 2019

“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.” - p. 419

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

Many quotes in goodreads already, likely includes many below:

I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most — is it “angry” or “black” or “woman”?
===
Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.
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Everything that mattered was within a five-block radius — my grandparents and cousins, the church on the corner where we were not quite regulars at Sunday school, the gas station where my mother sometimes sent me to pick up a pack of Newport’s, and the liquor store, which also sold Wonder bread, penny candy, and gallons of milk.
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Robbie and Terry were older. They grew up in a different era, with different concerns. They’d seen things our parents hadn’t — things that Craig and I, in our raucous childishness, couldn’t begin to guess.
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He was devoted to his car, a bronze - colored two - door Buick Electra 225, which he referred to with pride as “the Deuce and a Quarter.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

If you’d had a head start at home, you were rewarded for it at school, deemed “bright” or “gifted,” which in turn only compounded your confidence. The advantages aggregated quickly.
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Kids found one another based not on the color of their skin but on who was outside and ready to play.
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In 1950, fifteen years before my parents moved to South Shore, the neighborhood had been 96 percent white. By the time I’d leave for college in 1981, it would be about 96 percent black.
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If my mother were somebody different, she might have done the polite thing and said, “Just go and do your best.” But she knew the difference. She knew the difference between whining and actual distress.
===

Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t “bad kids.” They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

For the next nine years, knowing that I’d earned it, I made myself a fat peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast each morning and consumed not a single egg.
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My grandfather, born in 1912, was the grandson of slaves, the son of a millworker, and the oldest of what would be ten children in his family. A quick-witted and intelligent kid, he’d been nicknamed “the Professor” and set his sights early on the idea of someday going to college. But not only was he black and from a poor family, he also came of age during the Great Depression.
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If you wanted to work as an electrician (or as a steelworker, carpenter, or plumber, for that matter) on any of the big job sites in Chicago, you needed a union card. And if you were black, the overwhelming odds were that you weren’t going …
===
Speaking a certain way — the “white” way, as some would have it — was perceived as a betrayal, as being uppity, as somehow denying our culture.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

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.
===
I tore through the lessons, quietly keeping tabs on where I stood among my peers as we charted our progress from long division to pre-algebra, from writing single paragraphs to turning in full research papers. For me, it was like a game. And as with any game, like most any kid, I was happiest when I was ahead.
===
Advice, when she offered it, tended to be of the hard-boiled and pragmatic variety. “You don’t have to like your teacher,” she told me one day after I came home spewing complaints. “But that woman’s got the kind of math in her head that you need in yours. Focus on that and ignore the rest. ”
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Her goal was to push us out into the world. “I’m not raising babies,” she’d tell us. “I’m raising adults.”
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We weren’t going to “hang out” or “take a walk.” We were going to make out. And we were both all for it.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

I was caught up in the lonely thrill of being a teenager now, convinced that the adults around me had never been there themselves.
===
Was she picturing herself on a tropical island somewhere? With a different kind of man, or in a different kind of house, or with a corner office instead of kids? I don’t know, and I suppose I could ask my mother, who is now in her eighties, but I don’t think it matters.
===

If you’ve never passed a winter in Chicago, let me describe it: You can live for a hundred straight days beneath an iron-gray sky that claps itself like a lid over the city. Frigid, biting winds blow in off the lake. Snow falls in dozens of ways, in heavy overnight dumps and daytime, sideways squalls, in demoralizing sloppy sleet and fairy-tale billows of fluff. There’s ice, usually, lots of it, that shellacs the sidewalks and windshields that then need to be scrapped.
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I hadn’t needed to show her anything. I was only showing myself.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

I hoped that someday my feelings for a man would knock me sideways, that I’d get swept into the upending, tsunami-like rush that seemed to power all the best love stories.
===
I’d been raised on the bedrock of football, basketball, and baseball, but it turned out that East Coast prep schoolers did more. Lacrosse was a thing. Field hockey was a thing. Squash, even, was a thing. For a kid from the South Side, it could be a little dizzying. “You row crew?” What does that even mean?
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It was hardly a straight meritocracy. There were the athletes, for example. There were the legacy kids, whose fathers and grandfathers had been Tigers or whose families had funded the building of a dorm or a library.
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If in high school I’d felt as if I were representing my neighborhood, now at Princeton I was representing my race.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

In my experience, you put a suit on any half-intelligent black man and white people tended to go bonkers.
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To me, he was sort of like a unicorn — unusual to the point of seeming almost unreal.
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Compared with my own lockstep march toward success, the direct arrow shot of my trajectory from Princeton to Harvard to my desk on the forty-seventh floor, Barack’s path was an improvisational zigzag through disparate worlds.
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He was in law school, he explained, because grassroots organizing had shown him that meaningful societal change required not just the work of the people on the ground but stronger policies and governmental action as well.
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There was no arguing with the fact that even with his challenged sense of style, Barack was a catch. He was good-looking, poised, and successful. He was athletic, interesting, and kind. What more could anyone want? I sailed into the bar, certain I was doing everyone a favor — him and all the ladies

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sfrancis2006
Nov 26, 2019

sfrancis2006 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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manish_pmp
Jul 16, 2019

manish_pmp thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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