BIPL Reads's Reviews > The Obamas

The Obamas by Jodi Kantor
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Jan 27, 12

bookshelves: necia
Read in January, 2012

Although I don’t usually read political books, I was intrigued when I heard about Jodi Kantor’s book, The Obamas. It promised to provide insight into the first couple’s powerful partnership and talk about how these two equally successful and driven people make their marriage work while living in the spotlight.

The main theme of this book is how the Obamas changed when they moved to Washington. We explore Michelle Obama’s struggle to be a modern first lady with a purpose and her conflict with the President’s advisors. We follow the President’s fall from popularity and isolation from the American people. And we see the first couple’s ongoing struggle to hold on to some semblance on normalcy while living in Washington and dealing with traditional Washington politics. Ever present is the idea that Michelle and Barack Obama have a dynamic, ongoing dialogue about what their purpose is and what they can accomplish.

The White House has criticized this book and the first lady spoke out against its portrayal of herself. However, contrary to what the first lady said, I do not see her portrayed as an “angry black woman” – but instead as someone with immense inner strength, drive and vision. A force to be reckoned with, and someone who is very admirable indeed. Michelle’s story – her growth and transformation - are what drive this book and make it successful.

Readers should be able to enjoy this book regardless of their political affiliations. Ms. Kantor wrights in an even-handed, nuanced way that is free from political hype.

I’d recommend this book to readers who enjoy current events and political news- especially to those who may not know a lot about the Obamas to begin with. Those who are already well read in this subject may find the book doesn’t have much new to offer. Those who are serious about politics and who enjoy reading books with considerable political heft may think this book is too gossipy.

I’d also recommend it to those who enjoy biographies and memoirs. It tells a story of overcoming obstacles and of tremendous personal growth. It also has a lot of compelling details about the first family’s life in the White House that many readers will find interesting.
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