Becoming Book Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis [Michelle Obama]

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AuthorMichelle Obama
Publication DateNovember 13, 2018
GenreMemoir, Autobiography
Pages448 pages
PublisherCrown Publishing Group
ThemesIdentity, Family, Education, Leadership,
Empowerment, Social Issues


  1. Michelle Obama The author and main character of the memoir, she shares her journey from childhood to becoming the First Lady of the United States, discussing her personal growth, challenges, and achievements.
  2. Barack Obama Michelle’s husband and the 44th President of the United States. The book portrays their relationship, his political career, and his support for Michelle’s endeavors.
  3. Marian Robinson Michelle’s mother, a strong and supportive figure in her life who provided guidance and stability.
  4. Craig Robinson Michelle’s older brother, with whom she shares a close bond. He is a source of inspiration and comfort throughout her life.
  5. Sasha and Malia Obama Michelle and Barack’s daughters, who play a significant role in Michelle’s journey as a mother and First Lady.
  6. Fraser C. Robinson III Michelle’s father, whose memory and values continue to influence her as she navigates life’s challenges.
  7. Valerie Jarrett A close friend and advisor to the Obama family, who was involved in both Barack and Michelle’s careers.
  8. David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel Key figures in Barack Obama’s political team, offering support during his presidential campaign and time in office.
  9. Susi Wampler Michelle’s childhood friend, whose friendship provides a sense of continuity and authenticity in Michelle’s life.
  10. Various White House Staff and Public Figures The memoir introduces a range of people who were part of Michelle’s journey as First Lady, including aides, advisors, and international leaders.


  1. Self-Discovery – Michelle Obama’s journey of finding her identity and purpose.
  2. Empowerment – Encouraging others to embrace their strengths and potential.
  3. Resilience – Overcoming challenges and setbacks with determination.
  4. Leadership – Sharing insights on effective leadership and making positive change.
  5. Family Bonds – Highlighting the importance of family support and relationships.
  6. Education – Emphasizing the value of education in shaping one’s life.
  7. Social Impact – Using influence to address important societal issues.
  8. Diversity – Celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity.
  9. Personal Growth – Reflecting on personal development and continuous learning.
  10. Hope – Inspiring readers to believe in a brighter future.


“Becoming” by Michelle Obama is a memoir that takes readers on a journey through her life, from her childhood in Chicago to her years in the White House as the First Lady of the United States.

The book shares her personal experiences, challenges, and triumphs, while also reflecting on the importance of family, education, and embracing one’s authentic self.

Through her story, Michelle Obama inspires readers to find their own voice, overcome obstacles, and make a positive impact on the world.


Michelle Obama grew raised on Chicago’s South Side in a two-story home. Marian’s parents, Marian & Fraser Robinson, rent an upstairs apartment from Marian’s aunt & uncle, who live downstairs. Michelle’s father has multiple sclerosis, yet he refuses to let his condition hold him back. He works at a water filtration company and is a Democratic precinct captain in his community. Michelle is a sharp, driven young lady with a low disorganization tolerance. She is less outgoing than her elder brother, Craig, a talented basketball player with a large social circle. Michelle, on the other hand, gradually learns to be more extroverted.

Michelle’s parents are firm believers in education. Her mother volunteers for their community school, struggling to maintain quality as the neighborhood deteriorates. Fraser and Marian have chosen a predominantly white Catholic school with a good basketball program and a challenging curriculum for Craig. Michelle is accepted into Whitney Young, a new magnet school for talented children when she is ready for high school. Michelle’s bond with the daughter of civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson at Whitney Young allows her to see what life is like for individuals involved in politics.

Michelle accompanies her brother to Princeton and excels there. One of her closest companions at Princeton is a Jamaican girl called Suzanne; this bond teaches Michelle that only some have to be as planned and motivated as she is. Michelle graduates, attends Harvard Legal School and works at a prestigious Chicago legal firm. 

However, at that time, she realized she despises being a lawyer. Her world is turned upside down when she is asked to mentor a male summer associate called Barack Obama. He is older than Michelle and the son of a Black Kenyan father & a White American mother. He began law school later after spending some time doing other things, like community activism in Chicago. Everyone in the firm immediately notices Barack’s talent & he and Michelle are instantly drawn to one other.

As Michelle and Barack get to know one other, she notices he has a higher tolerance for upheaval and uncertainty than she does. She also sees his commitment to making the world a better place. On the other hand, Michelle suffers a devastating loss: her companion Suzanne dies of cancer, and her father dies of MS after decades of battling to live everyday life. Recognizing that life is fleeting, Michelle seeks opportunities to leave her legal job. Some personal ties lead him to a position at city hall, where he works for Valerie Jarrett, who becomes a lifetime friend and ally.

Meanwhile, Barack works for a national voter registration group in the Chicago region. He and Michelle are currently engaged. In 1992, they married.

When the chance to compete for a seat in the Illinois state senate emerges, Barack begins working for a public interest law firm. Michelle is currently a university dean and a non-profit organization’s director. Michelle dislikes politics and believes that Barack would oppose it as well; nevertheless, after winning his campaign, he has the necessary temperament and abilities to be a politician. Then Barack’s mother died of cancer, and Michelle had a miscarriage. When the Obamas cannot conceive again, they resort to in vitro fertilization (IVF) & their first child, Malia, is born. Michelle goes on to work as a hospital director of community engagement. 

Sasha was born after an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. Michelle and Barack’s growing family and jobs strain them, but couples counseling assists them in making some necessary adjustments. Barack ran for the United States Senate and gained a considerable advantage even before his speech at the Democratic National Convention raised him national recognition. He handily wins the Senate contest.

Michelle and the daughters will remain in Chicago when Barack moves to Washington. To her chagrin, Barack and a group of advisers have begun discussing running for president in 2008. She agrees to be a part of the campaign but privately believes that Barack, as a Black man, cannot win. During the campaign, his opponents spread false claims about Barack having Muslim links. Michelle is a valuable tool on the campaign trail, but she is disheartened when a video of her speeches is altered to imply that she has a hatred towards America. Barack and his running partner, Joe Biden, secure a clear victory following the August convention, where Michelle delivers a well-received address. Michelle feels Barack is the best candidate to lead the nation out of the current economic downturn.

The transition from the Bush to the Obama administration has been smooth and pleasant. The White House personnel is courteous and effective. Michelle and Barack become accustomed to being escorted by Secret Service personnel anytime they leave the house, but they want to make the daughters’ life as regular as possible. Michelle’s mother, whom Barack & Michelle have convinced to move in with them, refuses to accept Secret Service protection.

Michelle must be involved and influential as First Lady without going overboard. Her early work on kid obesity is focused on the Let’s Move! The campaign, which promotes activity and good nutrition. Michelle is establishing a garden for vegetables on the South Lawn. She also encourages post-secondary education through her Reach Higher campaign and education for females worldwide through her Let Females Learn project. Finally, she collaborates with Jill Biden, the Second Lady, to strengthen assistance for military families through the Joining Forces project.

Michelle recognized the potential of social media during Barack Obama’s successful reelection campaign in 2012. Like the rest of the country, the Obamas are startled by the terrible killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and a Black church in Charleston. Michelle was touched by the tragic passing of a Chicago girl in a drive-by shooting since the girl lived near Michelle’s former neighborhood and had recently attended the second inauguration celebration. 

During the 2016 presidential election, Michelle is horrified by Donald Trump’s history and current actions, and she is taken aback when he wins a come-from-behind victory against Hillary Clinton. She finds solace in all that she and Barack have done in the previous eight years, and she tells herself that there is much to be hopeful about.

Famous quotes from Michelle Obama

Here are a few quotes from Michelle Obama:

  1. “When they go low, we go high.”
  2. “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
  3. “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”
  4. “The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.”
  5. “Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt.”
  6. “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”
  7. “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have.”
  8. “I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values—and follow my own moral compass—then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”


What is the main idea of Becoming?

The book Becoming by Michelle Obama is about her life story, from growing up to being the First Lady. It’s about challenges, family and inspiring others to find their voice.

What age is Becoming book appropriate for?

Becoming is best for teenagers and adults due to its complex themes and mature content. Younger readers might not fully understand or appreciate the book’s messages and experiences.

What happens at the end of the Becoming?

At the end of Becoming, Michelle Obama reflects on her time as First Lady, the importance of sharing stories, and her hope for a better future.

About the Author-Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Full NameMichelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
Date of BirthJanuary 17, 1964
Place of BirthChicago, Illinois, USA
Education-Princeton University (B.A. in Sociology)
-Harvard Law School (J.D.)
OccupationAttorney, Former First Lady of the United States, Author
Notable Works“Becoming” (Memoir)
SpouseBarack Obama (44th President of the United States)
ChildrenMalia Ann and Sasha Obama
Achievements– Advocate for education and military families
– Initiatives for health and wellness
Notable Initiatives– Let’s Move! (health and nutrition awareness)
– Reach Higher (higher education awareness)
Awards– Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for “Becoming”
– Time 100 Most Influential People

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