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Summer Reading 2019: Becoming

Here's why Charlotte and Rachel suggest Becoming...

We want to read this book because we've never read a memoir that is all of these things:  

  • written by a living woman that we respect immensely
  • written by a public figure, yet it includes very personal details
  • gives a personal side to historical events that we lived through and care about
  • directly addresses challenges in balancing her personal and professional roles

About the book

by Michelle Obama

The former first lady looks back on an unlikely rise to the top while navigating issues of race and gender in this warmhearted memoir. Obama's narrative is the story of an African-American striver, born to a working-class family in a Chicago ghetto, who got Princeton and Harvard degrees and prominent jobs in law and public relations, attended at every step by the nagging question, "Am I good enough?" ("Yes I am," she answers). It's also about her struggle to keep husband Barack's high-powered political career from subsuming her identity and the placid family life she preferred to the electoral frenzy—she disavows any desire for public office herself—while she weathered misgivings over work-life balance and marital strains that required couples' counseling. Becoming the first lady ratchets up the pressure as Obama endures the Secret Service security bubble, has every public utterance and outfit attacked by opponents, gets pilloried as a closet radical, and soldiers on with healthy-food initiatives. Obama surveys most of this with calm good humor—"infuriating" Republican obstructionism and Donald Trump's "misogyny" draw her ire—while painting an admiring, sometimes romantic portrait of Barack and evoking pathos over her parents' sacrifices for their children. There are no dramatic revelations and not much overt politics here, but fans of the Obamas will find an interesting, inspiring saga of quiet social revolutions. -Publishers Weekly

About the reader

 Charlotte Worsley, Assistant Head for Student Life

Charlotte previously recommended:

  • The Mindful Teen by Dzung X. Vo
  • Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals 


 Rachel Hebert, Director of Learning Services

This is Rachel's first summer reading recommendation!

A note from the author