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Becoming

Narrated by: Michelle Obama
Length: 19 hrs and 3 mins
5 out of 5 stars (95,179 ratings)

Regular price: $35.71

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Publisher's Summary

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

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 United States 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Didn't know what I was getting into

I highly recommend the audio format as it is read by the author.

I spent most of their eight years in office rebelling against anything the Obama's sought to accomplish. Sadly, I let the political pundits and partisan politics have too much influence on my thinking.

I was excited that we had our first African-American president, but I couldn't fully embrace all of the policies, and therefore was unwilling to embrace this presidency.

My last several years I have invested time and effort to connect with others. The greater the perceived difference, the better the conversation. I always learn more, appreciate others in new ways, and my life is richer as a result.

For those who are fans of the Obama's, this will be an enjoyable read to encounter the experience from Michelle's perspective.

It is more important for those like me to read. I am amazed at how the political machine works to divide and demonize people. It is difficult to witness and does nothing to build up our country.

I see how I have been complicit due to my silence or unwillingness to question what is being broadcast across the various media platforms.

Politics and religion should be talked about at the dinner table, because that is where we meet the humanity of others, and it's harder to hate those up close.

1,843 of 2,205 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Exceptional Women, A little too much Complaining

I thought this book was an insightful journey through Michelle Obama’s life. I really enjoyed learning about how accomplished and impressive she is. However, there were times in the book where I felt she was complaining non-stop, and it is difficult to listen to a person complain about how hard her life is when she is more wealthy, powerful, and successful than 99.999999999999 percent of the population. Other than that though this was a fantastic book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Biography?

It’s neither a bad story, nor a bad book. However, it lacks the realism of life. In this book, Michelle has narrated a flawless life with some political hurdles. She has highlighted other’s flaws when I am still waiting to ready what’s up with her real life. The book is fine for those who’d enjoy a nice fiction novel, but it is not enough to be regarded as a biography. I did not appreciate the bias towards the new president, and I did not appreciate the lack of interest for Americans in general. When we stop look at minorities as “special” they will stop being minority and will be “Americans”. I am a naturalized immigrant...and I do not enjoy the minority attention.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Gotta love Michelle, but this is boring.

I listend to the whole book and was drawn in but after I finished it I realized there was no amusing or funny or playful passage in the whole book. It felt like she was just telling day to day experiences but not really sharing any excitement or wider view of life with Barack or in the White House. She is such an excellent, inspirational speaker, I don't know why this was such a mundane story and narration.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Where's the Anti-Racism?

I picked up this book primarily for the sake of discussion, as a number of the girls and women around me have been reading it. Given the undertones of racism and privilege, it makes for a good conversation-starter. Otherwise, I generally avoid books written by politicians.

The scope and pace of the book was the first thing that I noticed. Roughly the first third of the book focuses on Obama's upbringing, and we don't get around to her time at the White House until after the midway point. This gives the book an especially personal tone.

Obama grew up as a lower-middle-class Chicagoan. This being the case, her professional path was "unswerving," to use her terminology. She went to Harvard Law, and went on a partner-track path at a law firm in Chicago. She didn't allow herself to realize she didn't enjoy this work, and never had, until her late twenties, after meeting Barack while he was an intern at her firm.

Given this conservatism, it is understandable the Obama fails to rise to occasion presented by her historic positioning, as the first black First Lady. Although racism (and occasionally sexism) are a backdrop of the text, they never become anything more than that. Despite her speaking to the misogyny and racism of Trump in the end of the book, even this provocation fails to evoke a strong stance.

Having been friends with the daughter of Jesse Jackson, the 1980's black Democratic candidate for President, and having been married by Reverend Jeremiah Wright—both figures aligned with a radical black power platform—it is unfortunate that the Obama's didn't take up their chance to fight for racial equity in the US. One might counter that they didn't have the political collateral for such a move, but neither did Barack's hallmark legislative package—the Affordable Care Act. Obama continues this legacy of striving for social acceptability over justice in her memoir. She would be the first to admit her substantial concern for the opinions of others. The Obama's made the decision to establish themselves as insiders, a place they're more than happy to disdain.

Another thread in the narrative is Obama's disdain for politics, and her emphasis on mothering. At every step of the way, she resisted Barack's ascent. I'm unsure how to interpret these stances. Although I'm understanding of her disdain for the demands of political life, and the fact that she might feel mothering is her most important vocation, maybe Obama regrets her lack of success of the Obama administration, and justifies these regrets with her alibi that she never wanted such a path in the first place.

In conclusion, the book is alright. I would attribute its extreme popularity to the combination of a Trump-induced nostalgia for more neoliberal times, and to the rise of the Me Too movement. It's worth reading at our present moment in the arc of history, but likely won't endure the test of time.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Long, interesting, but boring

I wanted to love this and feel a deep understanding of what it would be like to be the wife of a former president, but I was super bored. 6 hours in, I felt a responsibility to finish it, but not a desire. Just really boring...that’s the only word I can think to use.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Did not care for at all

It was very slow and unexciting had a lot of trouble paying attention to the story

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

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First half is boring

1. One can safely skip chapters 1-14. Michelle Obama has a childhood, just a normal childhood, although she is trying hard to find any traumatic experience of how she was disadvantaged based on her skin color. Spoiler alert: couldn’t find any in the book.
2. Be prepared to hear that every person appearing in the book is first sorted into a „white” or „black” box. Even if it is somebody’s secretary and is mentioned just briefly.

Chapters 15-24 are okay. It was interesting to hear how the family balanced their daily life with safety requirements.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Boring

Granted, I haven’t read many biographies, but I figure that all good books have to have the same attributes regardless of their genre. This one has some cute anecdotes, glimpses into the former First Lady’s life as a kid and a black woman, but that immersive experience that you want from a book, to transport you from your everyday life into another dimension - that just doesn’t happen. I am sorry about that, I really wanted to like this book because of its protagonist but I just don’t have enough free time to wait for it to start become interesting even after listening to it for hours.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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I’m sad to say this story, for me, was a little boring

I had a hard time liking Michelle Obama. She seemed very self-absorbed. She talked about what she accomplished in a most unflattering way. She has the most amazing and most interesting story to tell but the story just seem to drag on and on. Perhaps it would’ve been better for her to talk about her husband a little bit more. Or tell us about some interesting things that happened in the White House. I don’t think I liked the viewpoint that she took in this book. I know I am in the minority. I see the reviews are absolutely glowing. But I found myself being bored and Un
interested in the story as she told it

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Listener
  • 01-01-19

We still don’t deserve Michelle Obama

This was a great way to spend twenty hours. I didn’t think I could long for The Obamas any more than I already did, but this book reminds you how we had smart, gracious people in the White House.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-10-18

Beautifully written

Intimate, insightful, moving and well worth the listen. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you Michelle.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ParisMP
  • 01-19-19

Heartwarming, inspiring and just wonderful.

I loved every moment of this book. She doesn't try to sugarcoat her struggles and really shared in a way that she hasn't before. I feel privileged to have read about our FFL's extraordinary and inspiring journey. I also feel empowered to make my own journey, my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Olivieri
  • 11-30-18

Just so good

I feel like I really know Michelle Obama (and the world) a little bit better than I did before. So good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hanne
  • 11-18-18

A wonderful book

A really great book. So interesting and beautifully told. And also so well read by Michelle Obama herself.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-19

A thank you

I cried and I laughed through the soft and jovial listening. A great mix of feelings and stories. 😍🤩❤️

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  • Angelica
  • 04-10-19

Thank you Michelle, this is a heart-opening piece!

I am from Venezuela living in the diaspora, and this book made me feel I belong! Very sensible en empowering conclusions. thanks for sharing this piece of you!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-21-19

loved it...especially listen to her voice

Loved it!
Her way of story telling just keeps you hooked. A must read for sure

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  • JJ
  • 03-19-19

Wonderful

I had high hopes, and at first I thought the story moved a bit slow - but there was a reason for every little story told. The book ties her stories wonderfully together, and I have a much better undertaking of who Michelle Obama is and what drives her. I am left so very impressed and utterly inspired.

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  • Edel Mahony
  • 02-25-19

Fascinating & Encouraging

Endearing and enthralling to hear the very ordinary but incredible story of Michelle and her family. Such figures of hope.