Why Michelle Obama's 'Becoming' Is Required Reading

"It reminded me of how far this country has come and how far it still needs to go."

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It's not hard to understand why Michelle Obama's Becoming became the fastest-selling book of 2018. One page in, and you find yourself wondering how you could feel such a deep connection to the former first lady without ever being blessed with her presence beyond a TV screen. Or, in this case, a 448-page memoir.

Perhaps it's because she details her journey to the White House in such a real, intimate way—teaching us many lessons that we will carry with us into 2019, like the uselessness of asking someone what they want to be when they grow up (epiphany: we play many roles throughout our lives, which makes it impossible to choose just one thing), and the importance of consistently reminding ourselves that our voices matter.

It's lessons like these, and so many individual, personal reasons, why people loved Becoming. Below, exactly what makes the memoir so special, according to #ReadWithMC readers—Marie Claire's virtual community of book lovers who may not have the time to attend a book club IRL. Find out how you can easily participate and have your review featured here.

"The memoir from @michelleobama definitely lives up to its hype. It’s warm, candid, and incredibly personal, like a really good hug (she’s famous for them!). I was surprised how much it resonated with me on a personal level—from topics like love and family to female friendships and work. It is definitely one of the top books I’ve read this year and a perfect one to end 2018 with." —@friendswithabook

"I felt like I was having a conversation with Michelle Obama; her voice, poise, intelligence, and personality came through on each page. It made me proud of her and her accomplishments. It reminded me of how far this country has come and how far it still needs to go. If a young lady from Chicago can become the FLOTUS and a lawyer and a mother and a wife, then there is still hope and we need to keep persisting!" —@curlygirl84_

"The way she worded everything and was able to make you feel so much emotionally is just incredible. Reading and looking at the photographs included made you feel like you were a part of [her journey]." —@maddiiee02

"What a book. What a story. What a woman. As a busy working mum of three I haven't had a lot of time for reading lately, but I zoomed through this in two sessions. She is divine and a true inspiration to all, especially girls and women. 🙌🏻❤️" —@corinstylist

"20 hours on ⁦@audible_com⁩ later, I finished ⁦@MichelleObama⁩’s book and am profoundly grateful for the experience. It’s easy to doubt it these days, but she’s proof the American dream is real." —@michelleruiz

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"Becoming was such a beautiful story. I loved hearing about her life growing up in Chicago! What a beautiful, strong, brilliant woman...such a great read!" —@marcelainphotog

"I honestly have only read two books entirely through...now I can say three books! This was so fantastic! I felt like she was sitting with me having a great one-on-one conversation! Such class, dignity, and grace!" —@fung_yu821

"The book has a common message for ALL HUMANS. We all deserve to be respected because we all go through phases of our life that change us and hopefully make us stronger. Her book encouraged me to live in my faults and embrace my success, no matter how far off course they may have been; if you aim for a star then you'll miss out on what the entire universe could have in store." —@tonibizz

"I teared up several times reading this book, thinking about how proud I used to be of my country, how happy I was to be represented by a family who embodied civility, integrity, decency, honesty, and hard work—and how different our leadership is now. It made me nostalgic, but it also made me realize I need to do more in my own life to further those values: mentoring young women, volunteering in underserved communities, and just generally going high when someone else goes low. My favorite bits were learning about the minutiae of Michelle and Barack’s relationship (like how she’s a fast-walker and he’s an ambler—same for me), and getting a glimpse inside the White House itself (I love architecture and have always wondered about the floor plan). Those details made it as fun as it was illuminating and inspiring." —@danismcnally

"An amazing book. It was like she spoke directly to me." —@shatcobbs

"The book, like her story, was breathtaking in its ability to connect and inspire. It was authentic and honest and incredibly well-written while also somehow managing to include a bit of humor as well. The best part was when she stopped trying to smile through the DJT inauguration." —@yogarae

"Listened to the book on @audible with her voice as narrator. She is genuine, authentic, sweet, and fun all at once. A very good book to finish 2018 with." —@_valericious_

"Thank you #readwithmc for giving us the chance to reflect on #becoming with others. The way this book is written feels so personal. I talk to others about it as though I know Michelle myself. What an incredible job she has done to put across her emotions and opinions and draw a thread connecting her life events. Inspired me to keep a journal and be more reflective. Thanks, Michelle for the inspiration." —@buntingification

"Each morning I’d grab my cup of tea and tell my boyfriend, 'I’ll be with Michelle.' She let everything out from feeling vulnerable and unsure to proud and on top of the world. She pulled you in like your best girlfriend does, leaving no details left unturned. We learned just how easy it was for her to be misconstrued or doubted despite all the good she’s done. And finally, she so genuinely illustrated the true partnership she has with Barack. I’ve already gifted Becoming three times. It was everything and more." —@kristinlwolfe

"Wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I really enjoyed learning more about our former first lady." —@shirleyjl

"An inspiring read. Gives you true insight as to what life in politics is like, and the journey she went on. There are so many aspects of it that touch me, from her young childhood to meeting Barack to the last day in office. There’s an underlying message to work hard and you can achieve much. I think it will be quite eye-opening to some that weren’t [the Obama's] biggest fans. Policies aren't so black and white, but a positive impact is what was made. I’ve always been a big admirer of the Obama's and this book has only solidified my view. A truly great role model who remains humble and deals with critics in an elegant way. A highly-recommended read in my opinion." —@banksy111

"Loved that the book was so open and honest. Michelle Obama you are truly special. Thank you for sharing your story with us." —@awolmerans

Missed out on our December book club pick? Starting January 1, we'll be reading Christina Lauren's hilarious new novel, My Favorite Half-Night Stand. Learn more about the book and read an exclusive interview with the author here.

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Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.