Becoming

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Michelle Obama

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today, we’ll unlock with you the book “Becoming,” the autobiography of Michelle Obama.

It’s widely known that Michelle Obama was First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, and also the first African American First Lady. This book was written by Michelle Obama herself after Barack Obama stepped down as U.S. President. It’s a typical political tradition in the U.S. that the former First Lady writes a memoir after her husband steps down. Surprisingly, Michelle Obama’s memoir was more popular and well-received than any memoir by other former First Ladies, and even outranked memoirs of former Presidents. The book sold more than 720 thousand copies in North America on the first day of its release. It’s been translated into 33 languages and was a bestseller in many countries around the world. It not only broke the sales record of English books in 2018, but was also topped bestseller lists of almost all major bookstores, including both brick-and-mortar and online platforms.

So why is this book so popular? In this book, Michelle Obama both playfully and candidly told her story of evolving from a little girl from an African American working-class family, to an elite Ivy League graduate, and then First Lady of the U.S. She talked about how she made it through life challenges, and how these events had influenced her. Through this book, we don't see the “First Lady” as a celebrity or a politician, but as a real, respectful, and ordinary woman behind the halo.

Michelle did not make herself seem like a flawless role model and spout inaccessible inspirational sayings such as: “you can succeed as long as you try hard.” Instead, she didn’t shy away from revealing her confusion, conflicts, and even wounds that she bore along her journey. They resonate with the readers, who, in turn, feel empowered. Michelle also willingly showed readers her ordinary side. Like an ordinary woman, she fought with her husband because he spent too much time working. She was exhausted from trying to balance her family with her career. And she, too, felt bitter for some of the sacrifices that she had to make. Through this book, we see Michelle as a friend, and we feel her joy, her anger, her sorrow, and her fear. We feel emotionally connected to her.

From a rented attic on the South Side of Chicago to the 55,000-square-foot White House, from a working-class African American child, to the most powerful woman in the U.S., Michelle had had many roles. It's honorable that she had never changed. She neither gave up on herself because of the prevalent racism in her early years, nor lost herself in the luxury upper-class world. She did not abandon her frankness in order to avoid attacks from the media. Moreover, she did not become obsessed with power, even when she was in the center of politics. This is one of the reasons why the book was so well-received.

Using her shifting roles as the major storyline, Michelle Obama wrote about her experiences and challenges through three major phases of her life. We will now share with you her story in the following three parts:

Phase 1: As Michelle Robinson, how did she overcome all obstacles and become the epitome of the American Dream?

Phase 2: As Michelle Obama, how does he juggle family and pursue her goals at the same time?

Phase 3: As First Lady of the U.S., how did she define herself and play a more influential role?

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