Make no mistake—this is Michelle Obama’s memoir! Michelle’s book is about her life. Her name is Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.
I can relate to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s life
growing up. Michelle was a black child from
the south side of Chicago, Ill., and I was a black child from the east side of
Baltimore, MD. Michelle and I both
grew up in a working-class community that rented. As a
young black child, she had neighbors of different ethnicities getting along
just as I had when I was young. She was
considered a nerd just as I was growing up because we liked to read and
write. Her father died of
complications of multiple sclerosis and my father died from complications of
diabetes. Neither man sought medical
attention until it was too late.
Black people became store owners, teachers, bus
drivers, policemen, mail men, etc. The
neighborhoods were close. Neighbors
could discipline your kids. She had grandparents,
aunts and uncles living in the same neighborhood just as I did. “Urban towns are full of good people who wish
the best for their children.” Michelle
was just one of the young treasures growing up in every city in the world. But
Michelle does not try to paint herself as perfect in this book. She talks about her flaws.
I believe her husband Barack Obama, U.S. President, was
the epitome of what a President should be—to care for all people, new and old,
not just some. He respected all
parties and attempted to work with everyone.
Michelle believed that Barack was the right person for that moment in
history. He would inherit a mess. The president vows to protect the U.S.
Constitution. Oh, that’s what
presidents swear to do when they lay their hand on the Bible at their
The President sees almost everything first: tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; extremist
shot up Army base in Texas; mass shooting at movie theater in Colorado;
shootings inside Sikh temple in Wisconsin, as well as shootings at elementary
schools, high schools, and colleges. 20
first graders and educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Newtown, CT. Hurricane Katrina’s
assault on Louisiana in 2005. 1800
people died and a half million were displaced.
A tragedy exacerbated by the ineptitude of the federal government’s
response. I can’t imagine having that
much responsibility, knowing you have to try to do something about the problems
that others can’t.
She wrote in detail about the difficulty of the presidential
campaigns while trying to raise two children, run a household, maintain a job, plan
and execute traditional White House parties and dinners, and personally organize
and promote campaigns against obesity in children.
Michelle wrote positively about political opponents
like John McCain. Hillary Clinton’s
gender was used against her relentlessly, but Michelle admired Hillary’s
ability to stand up and keep fighting.
I didn’t know that the President and his family do
have to pay bills such as food and toilet paper, although the White House is
rent-free. They also have to pay for every
invited guest’s overnight stay or meal.
Michelle paid for her own clothes and accessories.
In 2008, Twitter was new and most adults had cell phones. General Motors bankruptcy was coming. North Korea was doing nuclear testing just
as they are today. There was an earthquake
in Haiti. A Louisiana oil rig was spewing
oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The BP oil
spill was the worst in U.S. history causing local southern economies to suffer. Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals.
Most humbling to Michele was visiting military
communities and hospitals. Wounded
soldiers still wanted to rise and greet the President and First Lady. Teachers, nail technicians, and physical
therapists from one state weren’t recognized in another state which affected
military spouses’ abilities to bring in additional income every time they had
to move. Childcare was not affordable.
If one didn’t vote, it could affect what kids learned
in school, health care options available, or whether troops were sent to war. Any U.S. economic crises sent devastating ripples
across the globe just as they do now.
“No matter what I did, I would disappoint someone.” She and her husband visited Archbishop Desmond
Tutu, President Nelson Mandela, and other world leaders. “Life was teaching me that progress and
change happen slowly. We were planting
seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see.”
In 2011 the last American soldiers left Iraq. A gradual drawdown was under way in
Afghanistan. Major provisions of the
Affordable Care Act had gone into effect.
There were terrorist attacks on American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.
This was one of the most interesting books I’ve ever
read. However, it was not an easy read,
knowing that we lived through most of what Michelle talked about. I salute
you President and First Lady Obama for a job done as well as it could be done
under the circumstances.
Written by Rosa L. Griffin