Why I love “Becoming Michelle Obama”

By Kamieya Bynum

People kept telling me about Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming Michelle Obama. I would hear them saying things like, “it made me want to become a better woman” or “being a more open-minded person.” After constantly hearing praise for the book, I decided to read it for myself and give my own opinions on the book.

Although a number of people told me how good the book was, I was skeptical because I thought the book might be a little watered down, especially given who she was. However, after reading the book, I have to say it was even better than what people told me because I didn’t expect her story to be so relatable.

The book tells about how Michelle lived in her strict great aunt’s house in an apartment. Her aunt gave piano lessons to the neighborhood kids which made Michelle want to take a lesson. What stood out to me about this part of the story though was when Michelle progressed quickly through some songs she played, then tried to play a more advanced piece, but her aunt flipped out because she didn’t think Michelle was ready to. It felt really similar to the way adults try to protect us from so many things, and we, as children, don’t understand why so we usually get upset.   

Another story I connected within the book was about Michelle’s older brother, Craig, who was a star basketball player and knew everyone around the neighborhood.  While Michelle knew almost all the same people like her brother, she was always known as, “Craig’s little sister.” For Michelle, she felt as if she was living in the shadow of her old brother because she wanted to be known as her own person, not a shadow. Similarly, as someone who has 3 younger siblings, I never want my them to feel like they are living in my shadow, I want them to be their own person and support them in any way I can.

After reading the book, I can say without a doubt, this is one of the best books I have ever read. I’ve always looked up to Michelle Obama because she’s done so much to empower women, but reading through her book has made relate to her on a much more personal level. The book made me put away some of my preconceived ideas about how who Obama was and made me realize she had a pretty ordinary upbringing, which made me look up to her even more because she felt even more relatable.

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