Former First Lady Debuts Her Writing Skills in Her Captivating Book “Becoming”

Michelle Obama dazzled readers in her New York Times Bestseller.

Crown Publishing Group

Michelle Obama dazzled readers in her New York Times Bestseller.

Kennah Salvo, News Editor

Simply put, Michelle Obama’s new memoir, “Becoming,” is captivating. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. The storytelling is compelling, engaging, easy-to-follow, and built toward Mrs. Obama’s larger purpose very well, culminating with what wisdom she has gained.

In the beginning, Mrs. Obama tells about her childhood, placing specific emphasis on events that would shape and influence her for the rest of her life. For instance, she relates how she learned piano from an aunt who was strict and hard to please on an old upright piano. She explains how middle C is the anchoring point on a piano that allows everything to fall into place, a sort of guiding point for a player.

Obama recalls how the piano she learned on had a chip off the middle C key, which was how she always knew where it was. When it came came time for her recital, however, she played on a pristine grand piano with no chip on the middle C key, and she had a moment of panic, with no idea where to begin. She uses this experience as metaphor later on to describe how she felt upon becoming the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). She does this with other events and I found it a particularly effective way of telling her story.

Beyond superior storytelling, “Becoming” helped me better understand her initiatives to combat childhood obesity as FLOTUS. In her book, Michelle Obama relates a visit to the doctor’s office with her daughter, Sasha, where she was informed that Sasha was overweight. This sent her reeling, and, moreover, she describes it as an awakening to the problem of childhood obesity and the catalyst for all her initiatives. Before reading this book, I did not understand Obama’s passion for this cause and it seemed to me a strange one to champion. After reading this book, though, I thoroughly understood her decision.

“Becoming” also helped me to understand Michelle Obama better as person. I am a great admirer, especially of her initiatives surrounding the education of girls. However, I never thought of her as a person: as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister. But she is all of these things, and “Becoming” showed me that side of her. Is she successful and accomplished and a great role model? Absolutely, but she is also a typical woman going through life the same as you and me.

I did not even realize I thought this way until I stopped thinking this way. I think the moment that this dawned on me was when I read about how Mrs. Obama had struggles with infertility. I was shocked. I had no idea that had been a struggle for the Obama family. That was the moment I realized that she was a person.

“Becoming” is a powerful novel. From plot points to revelations and educational value, Michelle Obama’s autobiography is excellent. If you are looking for an awakening read, “Becoming” is for you.