Becoming

Becoming

Book - 2018
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Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, [2018]
ISBN: 9780525633754
0525633758
Characteristics: xvi, 675 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm

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c
carolwu96
Jun 15, 2019

I loved this book! For a while everyone I knew was reading it so I thought I needed to jump on board.
This is an autobiography reflecting on how Obama’s younger years made her who she is and her experience as the First Lady. I thought the section titles were clever: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More.
I am not a political person (although there ARE rights I am very passionate about) and before I started reading I was a little anxious about exposing myself to potential propaganda. And there ARE propaganda and the evidence for an intentional persona, which I have actually written an article on (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/5bQL26fu9vlK1NOBel2LNA here is the link for my Chinese readers) but I actually minded it much less than I had expected. Yes there is all that but from her words I still saw her as an activist and an advocate, and I think that even though there are things that she is not talking about, what she has revealed is enough to make me like her. As I said somewhere else (I actually don’t remember where) unless she had the experience ghostwritten for her in full, words don’t lie and are a reflection of part of her true self.
At certain moments I had been filled with tears. Strong words can only come from a strong individual, and she is a determined person indeed.
For more, follow me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead

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EPool_Lib
Jun 14, 2019

Fantastic!!

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melissajayne80
Jun 04, 2019

I really enjoyed the book. Definitely one of my favourite reads of 2019. I liked how she talked about the various people that mentored her along the way, about the joys and sorrows of her life and makes herself vulnerable to readers.

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firefly5
Jun 04, 2019

I loved this book. I felt like I was visiting with a friend. Michelle Obama is honest and down-to-earth about her entire life. I love her mom, too. I savoured this book. (I actually bought it because I could not read the book from the library in the allotted time). Each of the sections of the book are about a time in her and her family's life. I laughed and I cried. There are several places in the book that choked me up to the point that I had to put the book down, get a tissue and have a break. Very good read, I'm glad I own the book now. I will probably read it again sometime.

kristina_rad May 28, 2019

I completely understand what all the fuss was about, this memoir is exceptional. Michelle Obama recounts three clear stages of her life up to the end of Barack Obama's presidency. The stages are titled: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More.

This is a dense book and there are a lot of emotions to digest. Michelle is a powerhouse of strength, grace and resilience. Every paragraph is mindfully crafted and strings together a story of twists and turns. Everyone has challenges that we don't see at the surface level and learning about Michelle's journey and challenges will inspire and empower many readers to push on.

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Skywriter27
May 27, 2019

very dense read, couldn't bring myself to finish it

k
Kelliroberts
May 18, 2019

Too much like a school book.

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timewellspent
May 14, 2019

Every paragraph was well written and interesting, Thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Obama’s book. She is also an excellent “voice” for women regarding the struggles we encounter in life and on how to succeed. She shares on her life before and during her years in the Whitehouse.

c
cannotbeheard
May 09, 2019

This book was fantastic. I would definitely recommend it! It was fun being able to have a behind-the-scenes look at what it would be like going through finding out you would be married to a man running for President. It was interesting to be able to hear about her emotions as their family waited to find out the results of the elections. Hearing her talk about how thoughtful and kind Barrack is but also how neither of them are perfect. She gave 8 years of service to our country in the most elegant and wonderful way. I can't describe the joy this family, this woman especially, brings me.

JCLBetM May 09, 2019

Fascinating, honest, and compassionate glimpse behind the curtain of politics, as well as a clearer view of the current state of the US. Started slow for me, but then I realized it was so conversational (audiobook read by author) that if I listened in typical hangout chunks (1-2 hours here and there) I could fully appreciate her stories.

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Quotes

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jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

Many quotes in goodreads already, likely includes many below:

I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most — is it “angry” or “black” or “woman”?
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Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.
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Everything that mattered was within a five-block radius — my grandparents and cousins, the church on the corner where we were not quite regulars at Sunday school, the gas station where my mother sometimes sent me to pick up a pack of Newport’s, and the liquor store, which also sold Wonder bread, penny candy, and gallons of milk.
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Robbie and Terry were older. They grew up in a different era, with different concerns. They’d seen things our parents hadn’t — things that Craig and I, in our raucous childishness, couldn’t begin to guess.
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He was devoted to his car, a bronze - colored two - door Buick Electra 225, which he referred to with pride as “the Deuce and a Quarter.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

If you’d had a head start at home, you were rewarded for it at school, deemed “bright” or “gifted,” which in turn only compounded your confidence. The advantages aggregated quickly.
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Kids found one another based not on the color of their skin but on who was outside and ready to play.
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In 1950, fifteen years before my parents moved to South Shore, the neighborhood had been 96 percent white. By the time I’d leave for college in 1981, it would be about 96 percent black.
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If my mother were somebody different, she might have done the polite thing and said, “Just go and do your best.” But she knew the difference. She knew the difference between whining and actual distress.
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Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t “bad kids.” They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances

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jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

For the next nine years, knowing that I’d earned it, I made myself a fat peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast each morning and consumed not a single egg.
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My grandfather, born in 1912, was the grandson of slaves, the son of a millworker, and the oldest of what would be ten children in his family. A quick-witted and intelligent kid, he’d been nicknamed “the Professor” and set his sights early on the idea of someday going to college. But not only was he black and from a poor family, he also came of age during the Great Depression.
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If you wanted to work as an electrician (or as a steelworker, carpenter, or plumber, for that matter) on any of the big job sites in Chicago, you needed a union card. And if you were black, the overwhelming odds were that you weren’t going …
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Speaking a certain way — the “white” way, as some would have it — was perceived as a betrayal, as being uppity, as somehow denying our culture.

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jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.
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I tore through the lessons, quietly keeping tabs on where I stood among my peers as we charted our progress from long division to pre-algebra, from writing single paragraphs to turning in full research papers. For me, it was like a game. And as with any game, like most any kid, I was happiest when I was ahead.
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Advice, when she offered it, tended to be of the hard-boiled and pragmatic variety. “You don’t have to like your teacher,” she told me one day after I came home spewing complaints. “But that woman’s got the kind of math in her head that you need in yours. Focus on that and ignore the rest. ”
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Her goal was to push us out into the world. “I’m not raising babies,” she’d tell us. “I’m raising adults.”
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We weren’t going to “hang out” or “take a walk.” We were going to make out. And we were both all for it.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

I was caught up in the lonely thrill of being a teenager now, convinced that the adults around me had never been there themselves.
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Was she picturing herself on a tropical island somewhere? With a different kind of man, or in a different kind of house, or with a corner office instead of kids? I don’t know, and I suppose I could ask my mother, who is now in her eighties, but I don’t think it matters.
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If you’ve never passed a winter in Chicago, let me describe it: You can live for a hundred straight days beneath an iron-gray sky that claps itself like a lid over the city. Frigid, biting winds blow in off the lake. Snow falls in dozens of ways, in heavy overnight dumps and daytime, sideways squalls, in demoralizing sloppy sleet and fairy-tale billows of fluff. There’s ice, usually, lots of it, that shellacs the sidewalks and windshields that then need to be scrapped.
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I hadn’t needed to show her anything. I was only showing myself.

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jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

I hoped that someday my feelings for a man would knock me sideways, that I’d get swept into the upending, tsunami-like rush that seemed to power all the best love stories.
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I’d been raised on the bedrock of football, basketball, and baseball, but it turned out that East Coast prep schoolers did more. Lacrosse was a thing. Field hockey was a thing. Squash, even, was a thing. For a kid from the South Side, it could be a little dizzying. “You row crew?” What does that even mean?
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It was hardly a straight meritocracy. There were the athletes, for example. There were the legacy kids, whose fathers and grandfathers had been Tigers or whose families had funded the building of a dorm or a library.
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If in high school I’d felt as if I were representing my neighborhood, now at Princeton I was representing my race.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

In my experience, you put a suit on any half-intelligent black man and white people tended to go bonkers.
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To me, he was sort of like a unicorn — unusual to the point of seeming almost unreal.
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Compared with my own lockstep march toward success, the direct arrow shot of my trajectory from Princeton to Harvard to my desk on the forty-seventh floor, Barack’s path was an improvisational zigzag through disparate worlds.
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He was in law school, he explained, because grassroots organizing had shown him that meaningful societal change required not just the work of the people on the ground but stronger policies and governmental action as well.
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There was no arguing with the fact that even with his challenged sense of style, Barack was a catch. He was good-looking, poised, and successful. He was athletic, interesting, and kind. What more could anyone want? I sailed into the bar, certain I was doing everyone a favor — him and all the ladies

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

There was a time, he told me, when he’d been looser, more wild. He’d spent the first twenty years of his life going by the nickname Barry. As a teen, he smoked pot in the lush volcanic foothills of Oahu. At Occidental, he rode the waning energy of the 1970s, embracing Hendrix and the Stones. … He was white and black, African and American. He was modest and lived modestly, yet knew the richness of his own mind and the world of privilege that would open up to him as a result.
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“Why would someone as smart as you do something as dumb as that?” I’d blurted on the very first day we met, watching him cap off our lunch with a smoke.
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“I think we should go out,” Barack announced one afternoon as we sat finishing a meal. “What, you and me?” I feigned shock that he even considered it a possibility. “I told you, I don’t date. And I’m your adviser. ” He gave a wry laugh. “ Like that counts for anything. You’re not my boss,” he said.

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

It took effort, he cautioned. It required mapping strategy and listening to your neighbors and building trust in communities where trust was often lacking. It meant asking people you’d never met to give you a bit of their time or a tiny piece of their paycheck. It involved being told no in a dozen or a hundred different ways before hearing the “yes” that would make all the difference.
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Who are you to be telling us what to do? But skepticism didn’t bother him, the same way long odds didn’t seem to bother him. Barack was a unicorn, after all — shaped by his unusual name, his odd heritage, his hard-to-pin-down ethnicity, his missing dad, his unique mind. He was used to having to prove himself, pretty much anywhere he went.
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The choice, as he saw it, was this: You give up or you work for change. “What’s better for us?” Barack called to the people gathered in the room. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”

j
jimg2000
Feb 05, 2019

So many of my friends judged potential mates from the outside in, focusing first on their looks and financial prospects. If it turned out the person they’d chosen wasn’t a good communicator or was uncomfortable with being vulnerable, they seemed to think time or marriage vows would fix the problem. But Barack had arrived in my life a wholly formed person.
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My mom, who’d just driven an hour to fetch me from the airport, who was letting me live rent-free in the upstairs of her house, and who would have to get herself up at dawn the next morning in order to help my disabled dad get ready for work, was hardly ready to indulge my angst about fulfillment.
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“If you’re asking me,” she said, “I say make the money first and worry about your happiness later.”

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