Becoming Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
When I was training for a marathon, I needed a way to pass some time on the hours-long runs. I listened to music, then sometimes podcasts, and other times the Harry Potter series - starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (my fourth time reading the series). So began my experience with Audible.
It was a special circumstance which began this new way of reading a book. I’m somewhat of a purist otherwise. I love the feeling of a book in my hands. Paperback, hard cover - either one will do. If in a pinch, I’ll read a book on a kindle or my phone. But a book in my hands is a little piece of magic.
I can hardly run while holding a book, though. Audible will do for that. Because of my introduction to this experience, I considered other situations when I could use the app. Driving! So I purchased Becoming and off I went.
Listening to Michelle Obama tell her tale in her own voice added an authenticity to the story. Where there was anger in her words, it came through in her voice. Where hurt, where pain, where pure joy - it was all there.
Michelle’s memoir tells many details of her youth - growing up on Euchlid Avenue on the south side of Chicago with her mother, father and brother in the upper level of her Aunt’s house with makeshift bedroom walls. She builds a picture of what made her who she is today - long before she was the wife of the President of the United States.
There are stories of her education, both from her teachers and also her family and the environment in which she lived. How she loved to learn and loved to ask questions. How she was accepted into an Ivy League school but felt out of place and not nearly as social as her friends - instead connecting with children she babysat and tutored.
Eventually meeting Barack comes into the story. She, an established lawyer, he a recruit of the company paired with her to show her around and to help convince him to become part of their team. Though Barack is part of the book from this point on, Becoming is still Michelle’s story. Her experiences throughout the years. Their collective choices. How she didn’t always want to be 100% of his campaigns over the years. Her vulnerabilities being in the public eye - her fear of raising children in the White House and how she fought for even a remote sense of normalcy for them.
I found the memoir intriguing, intelligent and refreshing. It was honest and straightforward while still showing Michelle Obama’s vulnerabilities and fears.
While I will always prefer the experience of holding a book in my hand, reading at my own pace and being able to curl up under a warm blanket to soak in a great story, I am glad it was Becoming I enjoyed on Audible for no other reason than hearing a memoir in the author’s voice adds an authenticity to the words.
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