Former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama said she hopes her much-anticipated memoir, Becoming will give a voice to underrepresented communities by sharing the “ordinariness” of her path to the White House.
“My parents had a strong sense of how to parent and taught us at an early age to figure it out,” she said Friday during the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans. “They let us know, that as children, our opinions mattered. But they encouraged us to contribute to the solution. You could air it out, but you had to be the one to solve whatever it was.”
Obama read excerpts from her book, calling it a “re-humanization effort” that shares the “ordinariness of a very extraordinary story,’’ in front of an estimated crowd of 8,000 inside the city’s convention center, according to the Associated Press.
She said the memoir gives her the chance to revisit her childhood growing up on the south side of Chicago as well as her years as a lawyer, and mother who spent eight years in the nation’s Capital as her husband, Barack Obama, served as the President of United States.
“I didn’t come into [being first lady] with a blank slate,” she said. “I had big jobs. I went to Princeton. I went to Harvard. I am a lawyer. But as Barack’s ascent got faster and higher, I had to figure out and balance marriage and balance becoming a spouse. I’ve learned that you can have it all, but not all at the same time.”
Obama also praised her mother, Marian Robinson who lived for a time in the White House to help raise her two daughters with keeping her grounded.
“We had butlers and housekeepers at the White House, but my mother would tell them, ‘Don’t touch my underwear. I got it,'” she said to laughs. “She’s the one who taught my girls how to do laundry. She keeps us humble and focused on what’s important. She’s also my sounding board. She’ll sit and just listen and then ask me, ‘What do you think you should do about that?'”
Obama also discussed the importance of strong friendships, mentioning she couldn’t have made it in the White House without a “posse who kept me sane.” She also advised the young single mothers in the audience that they “weren’t meant to parent in isolation.”
“It truly takes a village to raise children. Build your village wherever you are. It will be your salvation and keep you sane,” she said to huge applause
The highly anticipated book is scheduled for release in November.