Readathon weekend had me reading Michelle Obama’s book nonstop, whenever I could concentrate enough to read through my pain meds and pain of my injured leg.
When They Go Low, We Go High
This book is amazing. Please read it if you haven’t already.
My expectations were high with all the positive comments, reviews and overall buzz that surrounded any discussion about this book. What I did not expect is how warm and personal the tone of this book is. I knew that Michelle Obama is an amazing, smart, strong woman with a clear voice but I was still very surprised to realize that her personality really comes through the pages. She is warm, empathic and funny and this book made me respect and admire her even more.
Michelle Obama takes us tells us of her path and it goes all the way to her childhood and themes that are both very strange and familiar to me and other women especially. I mean, who doesn’t remember wonders and oddities of changing from a kid to a teenager girl? Michelle tells openly of her first kiss, choosing her schools, the illness of her father, the constant wondering of whether she is doing enough with her studies and life choices. Being a girl can be difficult with the extra prejudice that might be thrown in just because of your sex, but the extra addition of being a girl of colour in the US at that time must have made things even more challenging than it ever should’ve been.
What I most appreciated about the earlier “growth” part of this book was that Michelle tells honestly about the pains of being a sort of perfectionist and doing everything with 110% ever since she was young. She had chosen to put herself to a path that led her to a profession and career that were high in money and appreciation from others, but which she simply did not enjoy. The difficulty of realizing and admitting this to herself and finally doing something about it is so, so inspiring. One of the main messages of this book is that we are never done, but always learning. Always going forward and always able to change and make better choices for ourselves. There is something very comforting in knowing that even for someone as amazing as Michelle, it wasn’t easy to admit that deep down she wasn’t happy. And just like her, we can choose to do something about it and feel fulfilled by our lives again.
Later on we get to hear very closely how Michelle and Barack Obama first met and their slow path to a love that is so strong that reading about it had me in tears and smiling more than once. I think it is the sincerity that does it. They weren’t yet POTUS and FLOTUS. They were just two young people with their lives ahead and madly in love with eachother. And it’s not sugarcoated either. Their lives were very ordinary back then with everyday joys and problems we all encounter. Michelle openly describes her doubts of Barack becoming a politician, their challenges of getting pregnant and even of them going to couples’ counselling. I’m always rooting for being open about difficult experiences, and how you dealt with them, to make it easier for others to realize that problems aren’t usually unique and help is available for those who want it. This kind of openness from someone like Michelle will reach so many others who are perhaps dealing with similar kind of problems with themselves and perhaps reading her words will give them a boost to help solve their issues.
Oh and one of the funny, lovely moments described in this book was how Barack proposed to Michelle. I won’t spoil it here but let’s say that there was a jester side to him (in a moment like that) that I wouldn’t have expected and it made me laugh out loud with warm and fuzzy feelings.
Obviously another interesting part of the book is peeking into the family life in the White House. I don’t much care about politics (just like Michelle didn’t either, by the way), but reading about Michelle defining her “version” of the First Lady over the years while raising kids and trying to have somewhat a normal life, it is highly interesting. Michelle brings the same determination she had for studying and work to making sure she can use her First Lady position to doing some good in a larger range than ever before. She focused on things like tackling childhood obesity and inspiring kids from all backgrounds and speaking for the importance of education and equal treatment of girls globally. She even doesn’t spare her words towards the current President of the United States, and I really appreciate the fact that her open way of telling the her story here doesn’t suddenly get censored when describes her high dislike of Trump and the way he treats others.
I took my time reading this book, stopping now and then to really savour her message, and I felt like I didn’t want it to end so soon. It is very well written and while the setting of a First Lady might be unique, the journey is very relatable. I could gush about this book so much more and at the same time I feel that it isn’t necessary. Read the book and feel its power and inspiration take over.
I will continue following what is next for both Michelle and Barack and I am sure they will both continue to inspire us with their wisdom, kindness and empathy. Those two are champions of hope which seems to be a much needed thing in this day and age.
As Michelle said, and this is such a powerful quote: When they go low, we go high.
This book again matches many of the prompts in the Reading Challenge that I’m participating, but for me I will mark this to:
10. A book written by a person of colour
Such an inspiring book, written by a woman of colour is a rather new perspective to me and a rare combination in the books I usually read.
What Reading Challenge? Check out my post about it here.
Oh and finally, this book is a great mood lifter. I’ve been feeling very down while being forced to stay home with the foot injury I have, and reading has been difficult with the constant pains and the dizziness caused by the pain meds. Michelle Obama’s book helped me forget my misery at times and made me smile again after days of gloominess. Another reason to love this book. ❤