Becoming, Michelle Obama’s memoir is a “stirring and candid read”

Education is crucial for success. It is the thread through Michelle Obama’s memoir, which our columnist Pooja calls “a stirring and candid read.”

Last month, the 44th First Lady of the United States of America released her first book: a memoir entitled Becoming. Warm, open and richly detailed, Michelle Obama narrates from her great perspective what it’s like for a little girl to grow up in Chicago.

She invites you inside her childhood home, talks about her most precious memories, her fears, her dreams and her faults with an honesty that is both rare and touching. Whether it is her piano lessons, her Barbie dolls or living in the shadow of a successful elder sibling, her words are full of vigour and humility. Almost immediately, one gets a sense that Michelle Obama aims to take apart her public image, to show herself as a human being with a story that is wonderfully relatable.

We journey with her, from her small second grade classroom in Chicago to the decorated halls of Princeton. We read about her first kiss, her many intimate friendships, her incomparable capacity for love and her adoration of children – or small persons as she calls them. With her informal words, she delights both the poet and the comic. Her humour ranges from delicate to in-your-face. From smoking ‘pot’ to sucker punching a bully, Michelle Obama records, with riveting precision, the resounding beat of her life and her ability to strive, anywhere and everywhere.

In later sections of the book, she openly discusses – and does not sugar coat – her distaste for politics but describes the role thrust upon her with wonderful grace and thoughtfulness. In her openness, she also makes a point to address her critics: the flippant fashion commentators to the more hard-faced political doubters. Being so entrenched in politics, surprisingly her account is neither diplomatic nor accusatory. It is here that Michelle Obama’s class, wisdom and light-heartedness shine through. In her own charming way, she describes all the little things which, ultimately, make up the big things.

Most importantly, her key message is that education is crucial for success. It is the thread through the entire book. In sharing her message, she opens a world of possibility for all those who look up to her. She sincerely reminds us that the world’s ours to take and we must own our story. And this is the singular achievement of this stirring and candid read.

Finally, I guarantee that you do not need to be an American citizen to appreciate this book. After all, Michelle is more than just the ex-First Lady of USA, she is one of the most influential women of our time. If you do not have a book to curl up with this winter, here’s one that will definitely carry you through the cold.