[LISTEN] #JJBookClub: A review on Michelle Obama's 'Becoming'

Former US first lady, Michelle Obama's autobiography "Becoming" turned into an international bestseller in a short space of time and became the best-selling book in the US just 15-days after hitting the shelves last month.

The book explores the themes of womanhood, parenting, race, the working world, friendships and love.

Joanne Joseph invited a panel of women - presenter, writer and literary critic Karabo Kgoleng, Executive Director of the Harvard Centre for African Studies Obenewah Amponsah and Director of Diversi-T Terry Oakley-Smith to discuss the themes and narratives in the book.

The panel agrees that the autobiography has very little to do with former president Barack Obama and is centred on Michelle's own upbringing and experiences.

What I loved about reading this is that she is able to tell a compelling story, to talk about an upbringing that wasn't wealthy but she did not try to invoke pity for the challenges she faced. I really enjoyed that about her story.

Karabo Kgoleng, presenter, writer and literary critic

I am not a big reader of biographies, when I read it I was extremely surprised. This woman steps out of the pages a woman in her own right. A balanced woman, a caring woman. A woman who gives to other women, leans on other women. I started reading it on an airplane and kept on reading it until I finished it.

Terry Oakley-Smith, Director of Diversi-T

There has been a lot of talk in many ways about the fact that Michelle Obama in many ways was a key factor in Barack's success. It was wonderful to hear or see that she had an opportunity to tell her own story in her own way,

Obenewah Amponsah, Executive Director of the Harvard Centre for African Studies

Speaking on the influence of education in Michelle's life, Amponsah says something that may have been lacking in her education is who she was outside of her academic and professional achievements.

We see her come to a point in her early twenties where she realizes actually she hates being a lawyer and I think that conversation she has with her mother is very poignant. When we speak of education we think about the grades that we get. We don't necessarily speak about what it means to be happy, fulfill your purpose and to bring joy and I think that is one of the important lessons that Michelle gives us.

Obenewah Amponsah, Executive Director of the Harvard Centre for African Studies

Click on the link below to listen to the full book review and more from 702 listeners who joined the discussion...


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