My first book for book club is Becoming by Michelle Obama.
It was not my first choice but the fellow ladies in the book club were enthusiastic about this memoir, hence I agreed. Plus, we agreed that we would each take turns picking the book.
The book club consists of me, Tracy and Maera. These ladies are my family.
Today, we had a scheduled book club meeting but unfortunately, Maera couldn’t make it because of work obligations. Super disappointed because I really miss her but life happens sometimes. But, Tracy and I still had the book club meeting. We went to Aroma cafe, which is like my favorite spot ever. The vibe at this place is amazing. There is an aroma of positivity around the structure.
We ordered a lot of food. We had mac and cheese, a burger with salad, guacamole, cake and coffee. We shared everything.
The first two hours were dedicated to catching up and eating.
Finally, it was time to discuss the book, which I had been super eager to do because I knew Tracy was going to think I am crazy. She loved the book and I didn’t, which, of course was going to lead to an interesting conversation. I had printed out a reading guide of about seven pages to help with the conversation if we needed it. The guide included quotes, and questions to discuss about the book but we did not even look at it. The conversation was organic and both of us had an opinionated idea of the book. Tracy ended up agreeing with me, which means I won the battle LOL!! (If your reading this Tracy, don’t kill me LOL).
Tracy described the book perfectly at the end of our discussion. Michelle Obama didn’t show us the human side of her. This stayed with me and really captured all my feelings about the text.
I was excited to dive into this text and my interest was captured during the prologue. Michelle describes a quiet night at her home after her husband’s term in office had ended.
The book was broken up into three different parts.
I enjoyed the first part, “Becoming,” which circulated around Michelle’s childhood in the South Side of Chicago. This was the most interesting part for me in the entire memoir. I enjoyed learning where Michelle came from and how her surroundings influenced her. The rest of the book is a complete blur of campaigning and her time in the White House with her family.
I was disappointed. I dived into the book and I felt a sense of disconnect. I couldn’t relate to Michelle Obama and I often felt like she repeater herself. Same meaning just different words. I had to take a break half way through the book and then I picked it back up in order to reach the deadline for my book club.
Michelle Obama did not owe the world anything. She did not like politics and wanted nothing to do with it. Still, I felt like her time in the White House could have been spent doing a lot more than what she did. She repeatedly mentions her accomplishments but it didn’t feel like much. She was into the idea of giving the youth a voice but I didn’t see how she was going to do that.
One of her stories was about going to a gang violent neighborhood in Chicago and talking to a few students. The students let her know that she couldn’t do much to help and she agreed and advised the students to study hard and basically find your way out. Michelle was an advocate for education and she thinks education is the key to a lot our issues. I agree that education does hold a valuable place in an individuals life but it does not guarantee anything. Michelle, you went to ivy league schools and not everyone is that lucky. Whether that means that a child didn’t have the money or the resources to go to a better school or maybe didn’t have the grades.
I didn’t go to an ivy league school because I knew my family would not be okay with their daughter moving out. I knew this from a young age. I had hopes and dreams of making it in Broadway as a director or something. Just as long as I was around it but that wasn’t going to happen. I knew it was impossible. I had good grades but I never tried to get into UCLA or USC. My family didn’t have the money and I didn’t have the motivation because if I didn’t get into UCLA…what would my next option be? It would have to be a Cal State because it was close to home. Still, education is education. Every school whether it costs you ten thousand or fifty thousand dollars has good teachers. I decided to attend California State University of Northridge and I always felt like I was looked down on because I attended this college. Like I wasn’t good enough or smart enough. I HAVE FELT THIS CONSISTENTLY THROUGHOUT MY ADULT LIFE.
So Michelle, I have two degrees and at times I feel like both of those degrees are meaningless. I am grateful for my experiences but doors didn’t open for me just because I am educated. Michelle I decided I wanted to become a filmmaker and guess what? Landing an internship was nearly impossible. Either I was unqualified or overqualified. Michelle you mentioned how your daughter, Malia, was finding her own way. Malia spent an evening asking Steven Spieldberg about his career as a filmmaker. She was so fabulous that Spieldberg offered her an internship on his TV show. I read these lines and I felt my blood boil. It made me angry Michelle because that wasn’t Malia’s charisma but it was her privilege. So many of us have charisma Michelle, but it isn’t enough. I just received a rejection letter last week for an internship that I interviewed for at a studio. I asked for feedback. I was told “you were great but they just found someone more qualified.” I wasn’t good enough Michelle. I have received hundreds of these types of rejections from the film industry.
This memoir was a cliche. Michelle constantly tells us what we want to here. I did not see her struggle at all. There was nothing negative in her life that set her back. She always had a plan and it always worked out. She never spoke about breaking down or having days where you just don’t feel like it. I didn’t feel any heart from this book or passion. I didn’t inspire me. It didn’t do much for me.