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BY MICHELLE OBAMA
“I’m an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey. In sharing my story, I hope to help create space for other stories and other voices, to widen the pathway for who belongs and why.”
This is what the Den found so appealing about Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming. Her journey from growing up in Euclid Avenue Chicago to First Lady at The White House is remarkable but, as she constantly points out, it could happen to anyone.
Michelle Obama recounts her life growing up in a small flat in the South Side of Chicago with her close-knit family, arriving at university and carving out her own successful and meaningful career in Chicago before, as we all know, her life would change forever as wife of the first African American President. It is fascinating to get such an honest insight into this experience, even more touching because at the time she had two young daughters whose home during these formative years of growing up was The White House.
Michelle Obama shares her highs and lows, every mother’s concerns for their children, from being out of depth in this privileged position. She gradually relaxes and carves her own pathway and stamps her mark as First Lady. Along the way she has inevitably had to make many sacrifices but recognises what her position has enabled her to achieve - particularly helping young women of colour and initiating a healthy eating programme enhanced by creating the first vegetable garden in the grounds of The White House.
Her story is refreshingly open, revealing both her strengths and weaknesses, her insights to the unknowns and the restrictions such responsibility entails. There are some painful and heart-rending moments but these are always intermixed with some wonderful uplifting and funny moments, allowing the reader to share her hope and enthusiasm for the future. The Reading Den were moved yet rallied by her optimism and unfailing belief, particularly in young people and what they can achieve.
The Den was privileged to to hear Michelle Obama talk at London's O2 Arena last month on the last leg of her book tour. It was a powerful and genuinely special occasion for us all!
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