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Becoming

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Becoming

Srilakshmi Medarametla, Staff Writer

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The crowd roars as the former first lady of the United States of America walks across the stage at the Capital One Arena. People are lined up for unsurprisingly expensive merchandise, as droves of fans who’ve paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars take their seat quietly to hear this magnanimously original First Lady, Michelle Obama, speak about her new book, Becoming.

Becoming, Obama’s life memoir, illustrates several key themes throughout her story about staying true to oneself, growing, and becoming. She talked about how the book was a way for her to understand what those eight, fast-paced years in the white house meant to her: how writing a book was almost like an assignment, as almost every first lady writes their story, like Laura Bush’s Spoken from the Heart. However, she did not want her memoir to be simply a chronological retelling of her years at the White House, but that she needed to write about her entire life like a story.

“To understand one’s life, you have to understand the context…they have to know all of my story,” Obama said during her talk at the Capital One Arena.

The book is split into 3 parts, Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More. She starts by talking about the values her parents instilled in her, growing up in the Southside of Chicago: values of open-mindedness and communication, the value of community. She moves on to talk about meeting her husband, Barack Obama, their daughters Sasha and Malia, his rise in politics and what that life meant for her: how one turn led to the next and how each of these experiences made her who she is today.

Perhaps most relating to Jefferson was Obama’s attitude towards life. During her book talk at the Capital One Arena, she discussed how she was a box-checker.

“You just achieve, achieve, achieve. I call it box-checking. Because I know that there are many overachievers that are box-checkers, who think that if I do these things right, it will lead me down the primrose to happiness,” Obama said, reflecting the ideals of many Jefferson students. As such, she talks about how she followed this path as a young adult and didn’t take many risks, or swerves. And yet, on the flip side, she talks about her husband as the exact opposite.

“I had met someone who was swerving all over the place: Mr. Swerve. Just his very being was a swerve…he didn’t take the traditional route,” Obama said.

However, when her father and close friend from college died, it was the first time she felt a death that was premature. She talks about the impact that grief had on her, how she realized how short life is and the need to take the occasional risk. In a way, it related to how she spoke about her life and her tenure as First Lady: how an ordinary girl with generally ordinary life took an extraordinary turn, a swerve and a risk from the traditional box-checking life that changed who she was.

All in all, Becoming is a must-read book. Interestingly, when asked about why Obama thought it was important to tell her story, she responded by explaining how important it was that everyone recognize their stories, that everyone’s story is important.

Obama elaborated, “I want my story to be an example to many that we all deserve and are worthy of an amazing, extraordinary life. The stories that we all have in us, those small memories, are really what make us who we are.”

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Becoming