Monday, May 4, 2015

Michelle Obama: A Life - Peter Slevin

My review of Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it here today with their permission. Hope you enjoy!

First line: "In June 2010, when Michelle Obama cast her eyes across the class of graduating high school seniors from one of Washington's most troubled black neighborhoods, she saw not only their lives, but her own."

In 2011 while discussing the role of first lady, Michelle Obama said, "'None of us chose the position. You get it because of who you're married to and you don't get a paycheck or a title, but you feel like you want to make the most of it and do some good things.'" (p. 254) In his biography on the inaugural African American first lady, Washington Post political correspondent Peter Slevin paints the portrait of a determined woman working tirelessly to "do some good things" not only in the White House but throughout her entire life.

Beginning before Obama's birth with the lives of her grandparents in a highly segregated, Depression-era Chicago, Slevin sketches a legacy passed on to Obama, one of hard work and a belief that once one achieves success, she "reach[es] back and help[s] others as they climb." (p. 335) He uses her own words, actions and initiatives as well as insights from those closest to her to add color and dimension to this tenacious woman. Michelle Obama: A Life is packed with humorous anecdotes as well as motivational experiences and revealing quotes. Readers ride the 2008 and 2012 campaign trails through her trials and tribulations. They wander the East Wing of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during a historical presidency.

Slevin depicts Obama as human--with foibles and flaws--as well as courageous--sacrificing personally, allowing the country to reap the benefits of her husband as president. His thorough research, openness and compassion combine to create a stunning profile of an inspirational role model for the twenty-first century.

Michelle Obama: A Life is available in hardcover (9780385536011) from Alfred A. Knopf.

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Malcolm Avenue Review May 4, 2015 at 11:06 AM  

I really really like her, so I'm tempted to pick this one up. More so after reading your review in SA (and here). Also loving the new first line feature and keep forgetting to tell you. :)

Jen May 8, 2015 at 9:38 AM  

My admiration for Mrs. Obama grew ten fold at least reading this. She's one of those people who genuinely want to make changes for the better and that's so inspiring! Love her!

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