Becoming by Michelle Obama

Posted on 02/13/2019 in misc

I'm pretty sure "write a book immediately upon leaving the White House" is in the First Lady contract. This is the first edition I've read though. The title comes from the construct of the book. The first third is her story - becoming Michelle Robinson. The middle third is the story of meeting Obama and the beginning of their journey together - becoming Michelle Obama. The final third cover her time in the White House - becoming the First Lady.

it's a fun, well paced book that is obviously dancing on the line between baring her soul, and protecting Obama's legacy. A few thoughts, not in any particular order.

  • Contrary to the things your grandfather posts on Facebook, she did not grow up secretly rich. She grew up in a working class family of 4 sharing a less than 1000 sq. foot apartment owned by a relative on the Southside of Chicago.

  • She got accepted to a magnet school for high school, which put her among rich kids for the first time. She ended up becoming good friends with Jessie Jackson's daughter after meeting her at school. Attending the magnet school required 90 minutes on city buses each way. I can relate to the commute. (From the past. I will never do that commute again.)

  • She graduated with Millennial level student loan debt, even though she is GenX like me. She never gave a number but the payments were $600/mo. My payments never exceeded about $200 a month for about $20K in debt, so if you extrapolate...

  • Obama was driven from day 1, passing up the high profile law jobs he could have had to focus on community service. Or if you are Republican, he used a secret Muslim slush fund to finance a high end lifestyle while doing low paying work. And by high profile lifestyle, they mean living in the same apartment that Michelle grew up in, although by then the neighborhood had deteriorated quite a bit.

  • She was never big on the whole politics things, and outright hates it now. She made Obama promise that if he failed in the Senate run in 2008 that was it - his politics career was over and he'd need to find another way to make a living.

  • They needed marriage counseling to get through the disconnect from her wanting a more traditional lifestyle and Obama's drive to change the world.

  • The whole final third of the book going into the inner workings of living in the White House was really interesting.

  • That her family is intact and that her kids grew up well adjusted and normal while living in the White House is a testament the insane amount of effort that they (mostly her) put into trying to give their kids as normal an upbringing as they could under those circumstances.

  • She is still pretty damn bitter about the way Republicans treated her husband.

  • She fucking hates Donald Trump.

Reading the book I think we can pinpoint the exact moment when the United States dove headfirst into the decline we find ourselves in today. It was when Mitch McConnell stated his job was to make Obama a one-term President. That's not his job. His job was (and still is) to lead the Senate in conducting the business of the government, not shut it all down because his fragile racist white male ego couldn't deal with a black guy in the White House.

In summary. Great book. I miss the Obamas.

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