Seaside Book Club –
by Deborah Rogers –
Released late last year, Becoming by Michelle Obama sold 1.4 million copies in its first week, and by March this year had sold 10 million copies. On track to become the best-selling memoir of all time, Michelle Obama’s autobiography was a great book club selection, and we felt fortunate to get our hands on a library book club set of hardback copies!
For someone who had been so visible, Michelle’s early life was largely unknown by our readers, and we found it interesting and often revelatory. Growing up in Chicago, Obama describes an ordinary childhood, surrounded by a loving and supportive family. The role of her parents in setting Michelle and her brother’s values is really well presented, with some interesting anecdotes about school life and the realities of growing up black in America. An exceptionally intelligent and hard working woman, we follow her as she navigates through school then on to Princeton to study law. Back in Chicago after graduating (and in fact living back at her parent’s home) she meets a promising young lawyer named Barack.
Obama provides a portrait of her husband, before he becomes a public figure, that is deeply loving, yet feels truthful. In fact there is depth, honesty and wit throughout this book. Our readers found Obama’s voice authentic and realistic and at times were surprised how candid she was about her life. Learning about the upbringing that shaped her certainly made the contrast to her eventual life in the White House all the more pronounced.
The book is structured around the key moments that became life turning points. Michelle Obama made the most of the opportunities she was presented, and established her own significant career before her husband’s decision to run for President turned things upside down. This autobiography shows the behind-the-scenes view – that juggling work, family and politics was almost impossible, even for such a high achiever.
Several of our readers noted how reassuring it was to read about this woman who from the outside is so clearly successful, but who on the inside had been plagued by doubts. She doesn’t hide the moments of frustration, struggle and sometimes failure, which was refreshing.
Our group was unanimous in their praise of the book, and several mentioned how it would make an excellent resource for young women. Thanks to everyone who came along and shared their views.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday July 10, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. We’ll be meeting at the Shoal Centre in Sidney to discuss The Antiques by Kris D’Agnostino.
Book Club Q & A
Q How do you choose the books?
A The book selection is a little down to luck – each month the Sidney/North Saanich Library tries to get hold of a book club set for us to use. Availability is based on demand. So far we have had a choice between several titles each month, and have voted which one to use. Generally this will mean that people can leave the meeting with a copy of next month’s read. Book Club members can suggest titles they would be interested in reading from the VIRL book club sets list:
Q How do you structure the meeting?
A Members bring questions or discussion points with them, written down. These are put in a “hat” and drawn from to keep the discussion going. It leads to diverse questions and no need for anyone to feel self-conscious. The meeting is facilitated by Seaside Magazine’s Deborah and Sidney/North Saanich Library’s Virginia.
Q How do I stay up to date with Book Club happenings?
A Sign up for our mailing list and you’ll get meeting reminders by email. And follow us on Facebook to see everything that’s happening at Seaside Magazine!