Even before the preface hits you with a backhanded slap — addressing an outward privilege that felt at times like a nightmare — the front book cover reflecting the deep-brown melanin of yesteryear’s first African-American First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), Michelle Obama, brightens the horizon like golden honey.
In her memoir, Becoming, a multi-layered yet unfathomable journeying, Michelle mesmerizes the reader while luring them into her world to peep like paparazzi. Yet, she remains well in control of her sword—way mightier than the pen.
Unpacking her journey as an African-American US citizen
It is the spectrum of the themes, including the structured nuclear African-American family; music, especially jazz, and black love, through which she joins the trajectories of her life routes, that invites readers into her world.
Rising like a phoenix from ashes —again and again
Michelle recounts the experiences that have cut her like a muscle that she had to rebuild. From a congressman who butted the wrong woman with his unflattering remarks about the then First Lady’s “large posterior.” To how she fearlessly reared a duality of grounded, modest, and intelligent black girls—her daughters.
Routes to her roots
Michelle reflects on her childhood on the South Side of Chicago before she transports you to the years she had to strike a balance between the demands of being an executive; and the demands of motherhood and work.
She then lands to her time spent at the most famous address.
It is both unimaginable and an exciting reality to wrap one’s head around how Michelle carried her crown in her time of office. Not only as a woman. Purely as an ordinary Southern African-American woman.
Underneath Michelle Obama’s skin
Her defiance of expectations spans deep. It goes as far as when she and her piano teacher, her great-aunt, Robbie, disagreed on her progress in piano practice sessions.
Michelle recounts that she had peeked ahead in the book and attempted new songs during her practice sessions. This forwardness angered Robbie, who subsequently chastised Michelle for going ahead.
The previous FLOTUS, in turn, is stubborn and asks why she cannot learn new songs. We learn, then, that Michelle’s mother and father are amused by her feud with Robbie. However, because they usually don’t intervene in matters outside school. They appreciate her “feistiness.” And she is later glad that they kept that flame lit.
The book is a freedom song journeying.
Its sound waves ebb and flow deep into blackness and the experiences tied to it, especially in the United States. With the focal lens on Michelle Obama as the first African-American First Lady of the United States— Michelle undoubtedly narrates her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her terms. The revelatory storytelling is deeply personal. This book is an account of how, at times, the prayers of the salves can carry you. And how you can flourish in a field full of dreams that others try to bury you in by staying in control of your narrative.