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Becoming  By  cover art


By: Michelle Obama
Narrated by: Michelle Obama
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Editorial review

By Yvonne Durant, Audible Editor


I remember seeing Michelle Obama for the first time in an Oprah magazine feature on a celebration honoring African American women. I knew her then as the wife of Senator Barack Obama and said to myself, "She’s so pretty." Of course, she was more than that. I happily and sometimes nervously followed the Obamas on their journey to the White House. When I got to hear her side of things years later, in her memoir Becoming, I loved every minute of listening to this great American story. She was so candid. I also could relate to her as I too was told by my parents that there was nothing I couldn’t do. This kinship made it easy for me to crawl into her story and make myself at home; that’s how she makes you feel, one of the family.

I sat in their living room and at the kitchen table when they’d talk about school, the neighborhood, and the family. Her father had MS but that didn’t stop him from going to work every day until he couldn’t. I laughed out loud when her brother, Craig, ran a fire drill centered on their father and how they would get him safely out of the house. Their parents followed his instructions and thankfully, that fire never happened. The family didn’t have much but they had everything they needed. Once, there was school trip to Europe and Michelle didn’t want to burden her parents, so she chose not to mention it. When they found out, they sat her down and explained that they were the parents and they would make the decisions—she went on the trip to Europe.

When she went to college at Princeton, it was clear Michelle was destined to do great things. The next stop was Harvard. Race reared its ugly head along the way when her white college roommate’s mother asked that her daughter be reassigned to another room. That was small stuff; Michelle stayed on course, and I found myself rooting for her all the way. Her honesty is brutal, like the time when her marriage hit a wall. She looked at it, made a plan, and that wall came tumbling down as they found a way to keep the marriage and family intact. One thing that stuck with me is that she would not sit and wait for her husband to come home. Oftentimes, he was late—the candles on the dinner table would start losing their flames, and Malia and Sasha were sleepy—but there would be no more waiting up. When it was time for dinner, they had dinner; when it was time to go to bed, they went to bed. She did not want them to think that life at home began when the man of the family walked in the door.

When Michelle Obama became first lady, I’m convinced every Black girl stood a little taller—including me, a grown woman. And maybe mothers looked at her and then at their daughters, and said, "See, there’s no such thing as 'can't'."

Continue reading Yvonne's review >

Publisher's summary

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former first lady of the United States.

Number one New York Times best seller 

Watch the Emmy-nominated Netflix original documentary

Oprah’s Book Club Pick

NAACP Image Award Winner

One of Essence’s 50 most impactful Black books of the past 50 years  

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As first lady of the United States of America - the first African American to serve in that role - she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the US and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations - and whose story inspires us to do the same.

©2018 Michelle Obama (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“A serious work of candid reflection by a singular figure of early-twenty-first-century America... Becoming is refined and forthright, gracefully written and at times laugh-out-loud funny.” (Isabel Wilkerson, The New York Times Book Review)

Becoming is inspirational without trying to be. From the first words, the very warmth that permeates its author emanates from the pages.... Becoming manages to be a coming-of-age tale, a love story and a family saga all in one. More importantly, this book is a reminder that America is still a work-in-progress, and that hope can be an action word if we allow it to be. Becoming is a balm that America needs, from a woman America does not yet deserve.” (Angie Thomas, Time)

“Deeply personal and refreshingly honest... She’s thoughtful, humorous, bracingly revealing, and when it’s time, she does us all the favor of showing us the human side of a man worshipped by so many.... It’s human and genuine and welcoming to see the layers of humanity she holds open.... Michelle Obama’s story can maybe inspire you to find a path for your own story.” (Shonda Rhimes, Shondaland)

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