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Becoming

Written by: Michelle Obama
Narrated by: Michelle Obama
Length: 19 hrs and 3 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5,436 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number one New York Times best seller

Oprah’s Book Club Pick

NAACP Image Award Winner

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 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Brilliant First Lady, Brilliant Book

If you want to read this book to learn more about Barak Obama, don't. You will get some insights into the man's character and his story from the perspective of a loving wife, but that's anout it. This not what the book is about.

Mrs. Obama describes her journey and her family's journey eloquently and honestly. She shares enough to show you a glimpse into her life, but not so much as to endanger her family's privacy.

Throughout the book, I felt that I am listening to a brilliant mind, to a Harvard educated lawyer, to a loving wife and to "The Mother in Chief". Always compassionate, grounded, reasonable and caring.

My only gripe is that I wish the narration would have been done by a professional narrator. Mrs. Obama does great, but it could get a bit monotonous at times.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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About BECOMING

This beautiful story is told so personally by this magnificent, “ordinary” woman.
I learned so much listening to it; about Chicago, where I, too grew up...more than twenty years earlier than Michelle. I learned about the evolving city; a thousand things I never knew or understood.
I have a new appreciation for the stories we all carry and how imperative it is to tell them. Michelle describes the many ways of becoming; that we’re never finished or finite— changes weave
backward and forward in our stories to give us more choices—better choices. Spending all these hours absorbing all she offers has been the greatest privilege. I miss hearing her talking to me already. Perhaps one of the most important gifts to me in hearing this is a new respect for—a new understanding of optimism. It’s not something we stand around waiting to feel — it’s something we grow and give.
Thank you Michelle. ❤️🤸🏿‍♀️

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Amazing read

I could not stop listening! Michelle’s voice, amazing story of resilience, drive and confidence are truly admirable. This is one of my favourite all-time reads (made WAY better by listening to her tell her own story).

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I tried so hard to love this book...but couldn't..

I was so excited about this book, but after listening for about 2 hours I gave up---the utopian childhood, coupled with seemingly an endless amount of perfection (school, home, life) I stopped. I am partial to finding a kin to people's greatness and flaws---the flaws make it real and demonstrate the life we all truly live. I think Michelle Obama is amazing--I think this book made me feel less than perfect in comparison and therefore made me stop listening. It may actually be her real life was that perfect and that is amazing, it just didn't hold my attention or make me hope with her and care about her....

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Intimate and inspiring

Michelle Obama invites us through an honest, candid tour of her life, proving that she is a remarkable person, yet very human. I will look for more to come from this woman as she still has so much to share. Thank you for sharing your story so far.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Okay

I always find hearing about people’s lives and backgrounds interesting. And this is was. But- that’s all it was. I was kind of hoping for a deeper message, theme etc. Some commentary on... well anything. But it’s just an “and then this happened” type of biography, listing things she did and said.

24 of 35 people found this review helpful

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inspiring

This is the first book I finished on audible. It is so touching and inspiring that I look forward every time I have bits and pieces of time to listen to it. Michelle Obama told her story so authentically and passionately that I did not want it to end, also did not want to put it away. And I am not even American. Recommended to all.

13 of 19 people found this review helpful

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amazing woman!!

everyone young woman should read this book, it is powerful and could change your future.

18 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Saddening

I was actually saddened by this book, in how a person can view the world and her circumstances as negatively as she does. I'll account but one example here.

The first section of the book details her growing up in a two-parent middle-class home in the 1970's, in the United States. She accounts how the piano she took classes on was not tuned properly, and there may have been some broken keys, which she realized after playing later on a nice grande piano shortly after.

It is simply amazing that people before us set up a system of strings of particular length and thickness, aligning them in such a way for them to play particular tones at a keystroke, ordering them by semi-tone. It's amazing that people would develop a skill on top of that, to arrange the playing of notes in such a way as to create music with their hands off of those strings. It's amazing that people further developed a system of language to music, and that people before her birth designed musical pieces for others to play and to practice. The very fact that she was able to play the piano at night, with electricity, puts her above almost all humans in history in terms of opportunity and privilege.

Instead of seeing any of that and being grateful, she ends that section by pointing out how - she imagines - some of the other children probably had better pianos than she did, that they were probably tuned closer to that grande piano than hers was, and probably didn't have broken keys. Thus, she probably had less privilege than other people did, and for this we should really take note.

I really did view pianos that way (the positive way) when I was a kid. Heck, every day I was in continual amazement at how many things people set up for us. I was amazed that a stranger actually comes to our house every week to take our garbage away forever. I was amazed at the idea of a television. I didn't have access to a piano as she did, but their very existence on this earth was amazing to me, and I was grateful to be in a world where such things even existed.

I strongly urge potential readers not to learn from this person. There are far better ways to look at life than through the dance of mimetic desire, looking for crisis and scapegoats in the form of oppressors. The one value in this book is that she seems unaware of this condition of her character, giving us a brutally honest exposition because she does not know to guard it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful for so many reasons

Much needed voice in our world today, thank you Michelle! I highly recommend this read and added bonus that it is read by the brilliant author.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lakerski
  • 2019-01-12

Downhill Ride

The book began well, telling Michelle's early life, and continuing as the author adapted to Barak's campaign for President; but Michelle's story, became less interesting after the Obamas were in the White House. Later in the book, I found too many generalities (gardening) and no specific examples of actions and reactions of POTUS and FLOTUS; specific stories of things that happened between Michelle and other significant people were too few, or Michelle's feelings and reactions were not laid out ..

81 of 97 people found this review helpful

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  • Valdis
  • 2019-02-27

A little too repetitive

The back story of Michelle’s life and rise to the White House is very interesting and worth knowing. She has a main political point that she presents throughout the book, but in my opinion she oversells her point and by the time one is through three quarters of the book one does not want to hear it anymore. Her editors did her no favors by allowing the book to be so long because of the repetition.

Having said that it is worth perhaps reading the book so one can skim over parts - this is more difficult in an audiobook.

52 of 62 people found this review helpful

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  • Ulala
  • 2019-03-11

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.

47 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • Amzn customer
  • 2019-05-27

Had different expectations.

It's not a bad book. I just had different expectations. Being an Obama family fan and with an expectation that this book comes from Mrs Obama, I wanted to read her journey, her contribution to the presidentship. We do get that but in patches.
"I was not bossy, I was just confident." This line automatically set an expectation that we are going to get an overhaulish account from the ex-FLOTUS. But the book losses the track and then what we get in almost half the book is Mr Obama - the President's journey. By the time, we get back to Michelle Obama's experiences again, the book is more than 3/4th done. Maybe, the expectations were set accordingly through various post book tours that this is more about a family journey - a political change that came across with Obama presidency. But with a title like Becoming, a reader actually feels misled that what he ended up with was not what the book tried to deliver.

65 of 78 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-01-23

So disappointed.

I only got to Chapter 5. She talks about being poor and disadvantaged. She really has no idea. Such a shsme. I've always admired her.

60 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • TAnnP
  • 2019-03-08

Was expecting more

I struggled to finish this book honestly. The end gets better. She reads it well, but I find it surface. Without any depth.

41 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • John D. White
  • 2019-04-03

Pure drudgery

Horribly boring and disappointing. From childhood to leaving the White House, there was little that was very interesting with the exception of a dream. Michelle is a terrible narrator, making every minute almost impossible to go on. I'm so thankful to be through with it.

78 of 94 people found this review helpful

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  • disudds
  • 2019-04-26

I'm out of the majority here, but...

I liked the book, but I didn't love it. To really like a book, I need some more interesting writing or surprises that keep me riveted. To love a book, it has to change me as a person or change my way of thinking. Becoming is well-written, but not written like literature, and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't change my life.

My book club will all disagree with me, much more likely to give the book five stars than four or three and the number of books sold suggest this is far more popular than I would have guessed. But is it popular because Michelle Obama is popular or will it stand the test of time?

64 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica Hendrickson
  • 2019-01-23

Uneventful

I may try this again at some point but for now it just didn’t keep my attention. Very slow start. I really like the First Lady so I was excited to get this. It might be amazing further in but I couldn’t get past the first half of the book.

64 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca Yates
  • 2019-01-15

I wanted to LOVE it!

I wanted to love this book, but, and I know I’m definitely in the minority here, it just wasn’t that interesting. I’m sorry!! I love her, I love her voice, it was just a little boring.

64 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • Cheerioh
  • 2019-05-04

Génial, passionnant, tellement éclairant

Je me souviens de mon plaisir à savoir qu'un homme noir avait enfin atteint les hauts sphères du pouvoir, je me souviens d'avoir apprécié le caractère exceptionnel de son épouse. C'était un vrai bonheur de la découvrir dans cette autobiographie, lue par elle qui plus est.

Le couple Obama est exceptionnel, nul doute après la lecture de ce livre audio. Je n'ose imaginer leur déception à l'arrivée putride de l'autre, l'erreur de parcours. Elle l'évoque à la fin, ça donne la nausée.

Le livre raconte son parcours à elle évidemment, petite fille de milieu très modeste, avec un père handicapé très courageux, sa rencontre avec Obama, leur vie de couple, l'éducation de leurs enfants.

J'adore son franc parler, même quand elle évoque les sacrifices consentis pour la carrière de son mari, les doutes, les frustrations. Elle évoque son engagement en tant que première dame.

Sa lecture est touchante, dynamique.

Non mais quelle bonne femme ! Un vrai modèle !

J'adore, je recommande. En plus on découvre les petits secrets d'arrière cuisine de la maison blanche, c'est très divertissant.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-01-22

Amazing !!

I feel so empowered after this book. It made me reflect on many aspects of life and was both fun and educational. Thanks for sharing your story, Michelle!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruth
  • 2019-08-17

Etonnant

Je suis francophone et je reçois le livre en anglais???
C'est peut être une bonne manière de parfaire mon anglais, mais j'apprécierais mieux le l'histoire si je pouvais l'écouter en français...

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  • VR
  • 2019-08-17

A great memoir

A great memoir by a lady, a woman with a humble upbringing that managed, through education and great role models, to achieve a great deal of things. Very good.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2019-08-13

Thanks

Thank you for your honesty Michelle Obama. Thank you for helping many believe, and understand.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-05

une biographie à lire sans hésiter

Michelle lit avec beaucoup de calme, j'ai été emportée par ce lire, j'ai pleuré et j'ai ris, j'ai aussi appris plus que ce que je ne pensais.

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  • NHobson
  • 2019-07-13

Becoming

Fascinating, powerful, moving, enlightening and enlightened. Michelle Obama is at once witty, generous, intelligent, intellectual, humble, tough and vulnerable. This book is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. What a remarkable story and so well described and told. She is informative and a raconteur, easily the equal of her famously loquacious and oratorical husband. She shares her life with unconditional love charm and warmth, and, what an extraordinary life.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2019-07-11

Don't judge on the beginning

inspiring book which offers a different perspective. I stopped after the first chapters, but then picked up the listening again and DO NOT REGRET at all

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  • Kat
  • 2019-06-06

A must read (listen, hear, think about)!!!

Loved every second!! what an amazing story and insite to Michelle Obama's life in and out of the White House!
Every Vote matters!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-06-04

Prenant

Écouté en VO avec la voix de Michelle Obama, quel charisme! On se laisse emporter par le récit.