I Read Two Books

I Read Two Books

This is notable because my library use had plunged over the past three years. I read Michael Pollan’s “How To Change Your Mind” for a Gnosis discussion. I couldn’t believe he spun nearly 500 pages on how hard it was for him to get high. I learned very little, except that he started about forty years late and had medical issues about trying things without a cadre of doctors and licenses. Sigh.

I just finished Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” Maybe she is charming and funny in person, but the book was a grind about how hard her life is. I am hoping it was deliberately written to the eight-grade level, the way the Early News is. How can a 40-year-old woman not know that the First Lady’s job is to plan state dinners, roughly once a month?

I’ll admit that growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, pretty much all the high schools girls knew this, regardless of race. And we all knew that the motorcade stops traffic, but not for long. I’m sure her post-9/11 security was way worse than it was during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years when I lived there. I realize now some of the qualities Barack saw in her were tenacity and stamina. Sometimes, being first lady is hard like coal mining is hard. The story of her first Inauguration Day, for example. The book ended with her sounding grateful to be getting out alive.

2 Responses »

  1. I had a completely different take on Michelle Obama’s book. I didn’t find it to be a grind, but perhaps an homage to dedication and perseverance. I had college roommates who grew up black in Black Chicago, so I could picture her situation, since I visited their homes. I know there are lots of moms who make sure their kids work hard, get into good schools and keep out of trouble, but my mom in rural Michigan didn’t have to work that hard to grow a good kid, so I admire what she and her kids endured.

    I think it was written for high schoolers. I enjoyed it. I didn’t know First Ladies had to plan big dinners monthly. Is Melania doing that now? Is it simpler if one simply orders in McDonalds?

  2. Melania is the hostess of the state dinners now, but elegance and style are her strong points. Jackie Kennedy was famous for wonderful state dinners. Actually, Michelle Obama got really got at creating meaningful White House events, inviting African-American artists and other talents, like Lin-Manuel Miranda, when Hamilton was little more than a long dramatic reading.

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