I was enchanted by this book. For me, it was a page turner, even though I knew the ending. I read late into the night and finished up the next day, despite all those things I 'should' be doing.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the parts dealing with MO's childhood -- the strong, centered, striving, working-class family that produced this exceptional woman. The American ideal, really.
The section that might be titled Michelle Meets Barry is almost like a sharp romantic comedy. She is assigned to mentor the new guy in the law firm and almost at once starts trying to set him up with dates. Well, we know how that turned out.
One of my favorite lines comes sometime later, after they have become a couple. Late one night in bed, he's staring at the ceiling and she asks him what he's thinking about.
"Income inequality," he replies.
And yet she persisted. The differences between the two were and are many but the strength of the relationship shines through the words.
And speaking of words, there's some very lovely writing in this book: In talking about her parents' marriage, MO reveals that much later her mother told her that every year when spring came and the air warmed up in Chicago, she would think about leaving her husband.
After explaining that her mother never said whether these thoughts were serious, MO goes on to describe the punishing Chicago winters with their low gray skies, segueing to this lyrical chapter closing:
"Eventually, however, something happens. A slow reversal begins. It can be subtle, a whiff of humidity in the air, a slight lifting of the sky. You feel it first in your heart, the possibility that winter might have passed. You may not trust it at the beginning, but then you do. Because now the sun is out and there are little nubby buds on the trees and your neighbors have taken off their heavy coats. And maybe there's a new airiness in your thoughts on the morning you decide to pull out every window in the apartment so you can spray the glass and wipe down the sills. It allows you to think, to wonder if you've missed out on other possibilities by becoming a wife to this man in this house with these children.
Maybe you spend the whole day considering new ways to live before finally you fit every window back into its frame and empty your bucket of Pine-Sol into the sink. And maybe now all your certainty returns, because yes, truly, it's spring and once again you've made the choice to stay.
MO doesn't shy away from the difficulties in her own marriage, culminating in the fish bowl existence of politics and living in the White House. The insults, the lies, the threats directed at the first black president and his family all hurt, but MO's "When they go low, we go high" is a measure of her strength -- that same strength that makes her detractors see an angry black woman, whatever she does.
I came away from the books with a profound realization of the accomplishment of this woman and her family. In a country that gives lip-service to equality, a person of color, not to mention a woman, is still handicapped every day, in so many ways from small to large, that they have run twice as fast just to stay even. Michelle Obama has shown how it's done -- with grace, humor, style, and compassion.
Highly, highly recommended!
There's an excellent review HERE that will give you a better overall sense of the book.