KARLEY CAPPEL '19
Becoming: A Book To Inspire
Imagine a memoir that sold 2 million copies within 15 days, became the best selling hardcover of 2018 and was added to Oprah Winfrey’s book club list. It's a real book, and it’s called Becoming. It tells the story of how Michelle Obama became the political figure, mother, and leader that she is now.
Michelle Obama wrote Becoming to reflect on her life and differentiate herself from the accomplishments of her husband. Before she was the First Lady of The United States, she was a lawyer, public servant, and hospital administrator. Before that, she was a child from the South Side of Chicago with ambitions that would not die, despite society telling her that a black girl from Chicago was not worthy of success. However, she refused to accept this and instead asks, in her book: “do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”
At the beginning of her memoir, Michelle Obama reminisces on her childhood and experiences that shaped her into a reflective thinker. As a young child, she was fierce with ambition but due to her school’s lack of proper funding, she did not receive the education she deserved. She writes that “kids know at a very young age when they are being devalued when adults aren’t invested to help them learn.” This is when she got her mom involved at the school to make an impact on the quality of education she was receiving.
Michelle Obama then discusses openly her hatred of being a lawyer. It was clearly not a career that she desired - she writes that the most “useless” question to ask a child is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” She states that nothing in life is “finite” and this question suggests that life is never-changing. As a leader, Michelle reveals in her book that you have to be brave enough to make drastic changes to get the life that you want.
Also, Michelle Obama voices the importance of being a prophet. When she was younger she hadto fight against bullies, and she now carries that with her. She reflects upon influential world leaders devaluing the dignity of a human person. She states that she deals with people who act with injustice by acting with “dignity,” stating that, when “they go low, we go high.”
Finally, she writes of being a nurturer. Michelle Obama reflects about special memories she had with her daughters when living in the White House. For instance, Michelle and her daughter Malia once attempted to sneak out of the White House to celebrate marriage equality being passed.
Becoming is a moving memoir that one should read if she is seeking inspiration and wisdom. It makes the perfect night’s read.