Random House, Nov 2018
429 pages, Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio book, Audio CD
Memoirs/Bios, Women’s Lit, History, Ethnic/Cultural
The cover is perfect with its large, captivating close-up of the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, who is the author and subject of this book. It shows her smiling, as I always think of her, but with her hand on her cheek and her arm across the front of her body as if in protection. Perhaps after all the nation put her through, she learned to protect herself and her family, but she still maintains her sense of fun and humor through it all.
The story is of her life from the time she was a young girl growing up on the Southside of Chicago as part of a poor black family. She knew they were poor, but it didn’t seem to be the defining sense in her young life. A sense of family, love, and the ability to be and do whatever she wanted was more the rule. And Michelle liked rules and guidelines. They gave her a path to follow, and follow she did. All the way through school and into college and law school, Princeton and Harvard Law School. She strived to follow the rules, and the rules said to succeed, so she did. All the way to a top law firm where she was successful, too.
Then along came a different sort of success story. A young black lawyer who didn’t seem to follow the rules, but who seemed to be seen as super desirable by all the law firms, including hers. She was his mentor for awhile as he tried out the firm. Then he shocked her when he suggested that they go out together as a couple. The rest, as they say, is history. Barack and Michelle became.
Michelle Obama shares the story of her relationship with Barack, her parents and friends and then their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, as if we were sitting in her living room drinking lemonade with her on a hot summer day. She shares painful memories and happy memories. She shares the highs and the lows of the journey from successful lawyer to former First Lady. From first date to last looks at the White House and saying goodbye to the staff. She shares it all in a very open way. There is no finger pointing here, just memories of things that took place and the feelings that went with them. A husband in the oval office and the sense of isolation that went with living in the White House…not being able to open windows or got out on the lawn for fear of security breaches. Trying to raise two daughters as normally as possible and still satisfy the security services people without scaring the people around the girls at school. Slipping out with Bo and going to Petsmart to buy him a dog toy without security. The many trials and tribulations, successes and satisfactions that came with the efforts and events planned and carried out during the Obama years. The many friends she made that remained close, life-long friends.
No matter your political position, this woman’s story is fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys reading about people, especially women, strong women and how they make their way in life. Tears, smiles, and high fives, this is a great book for anyone!