In Becoming, the Former First Lady shares an incredible life story that is a gleaming reflection of the American Dream.  Growing in up in a lower middle-income class family to graduating from two prestigious Ivy League Universities and securing a position as an attorney in one of Chicago’s most elite law firms (accomplished before meeting former President Barack Obama).  
    The book lightheartedly opens telling about her childhood on the Southside of Chicago in a neighborhood slowly losing its diversity.  A curious Michelle Obama describes the experience of attending Chicago’s first magnet high school and young adulthood at both Princeton and Harvard Universities affording tuition on scholarship subsidized with student loans.  Life after Harvard details the perplexities of securing employment in one of Chicago’s elite law firms, meeting the love of her life, navigating a long distance relationship and beginning a new marriage.  She continues to write about navigating marriage, personal career changes, motherhood, and a spouse who has aspirations beyond the wildest of dreams.  She keeps it real speaking to every woman discovering life when becoming a new wife, struggles of infertility, motherhood, being supportive to an ambitious spouse, and the anxiety in juggling all of these roles while thrust into, a very unexpected, spotlight where watchful eyes and criticism are always waiting.    
    Mrs. Obama humbly writes from her perspective in adjusting to public life, forfeiting privacy, living in a home built by slaves, and raising children, with normalcy, in the most abnormal circumstances.  She thoughtfully takes on the challenging role of First Lady with a strong desire to make a positive impact.  Never, omitting the wonderful perks while serving in a privileged and prestigious position.  The Former First Lady thankfully and humbly credits friends, family, and staff, with whom success would not have been possible without their advice, support, and dedication.  
Mrs. Obama’s story is inspiring, honest, and real.  Her book is an excellent read as it is told from the perspective of a woman trying to navigate life crossing socioeconomic barriers, succeeding against odds, motherhood, marriage, public life, and the responsibility that comes with it while Becoming Michelle Obama.

This Close to Happy

This Close to Happy is an eye opening story of Daphen Merkin’s lifetime struggle with depression. Her book is a must read for those who are impacted by depression either organically or by association. Ms. Merkin’s earliest childhood memories are filled with images of emotional and physical abuse while being forced to front a happy upbringing. She suffered abuse from the hands of both her mother and nanny which only exacerbated her organic depression. Therefore, her book is an interesting tale of how nature vs. nurture is intertwined impacting an individual’s emotional development. Ms. Merkin eloquently shares her story from the point of view of a depressed yet successful woman. The strength that allowed her to share her perspective as a person with depression practically jumps out to provide relief to her readers. Somehow, Ms. Merkin found the courage to tell a compelling story about how she has successfully navigated a life filled with pitfalls and joy by getting This Close to Happy.