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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama

I listened to this audiobook and highly recommend immersing yourself in Michelle Obama's voice as she shares calm, wise, funny, or poignant reflections, personal practices, and gems of advice regarding retaining hope and being your best self.

Many of us, I think, puzzle out our identities only over time, figuring out who we are and what we need in order to get by. We approximate our way into maturity, often following some loose idea of what we believe grown-up life is supposed to look like.... We make mistakes and then start over again.... We sample and discard different attitudes, approaches, influences, and tools for living until, piece by piece, we begin to better understand what suits us best, what helps us most.

I read Michelle Obama's wonderful book Becoming, but after my wise friend Katherine mentioned having listened to it, I immediately wished I had heard Michelle's calming voice read it to me too. So I decided to listen to The Light We Carry and was instantly sure audiobook was the right format for me.

Rather than pretending there are quick fixes for life's challenges and difficulties, Obama opens up her "toolbox" of emotional, meditative, and optimistic methods of coping, reminding herself of what's what, and ways in which she carries on in the face of adversity. While her White House circumstances are unusual and some of her related recollections are unique, her methods translate to the rest of us and daily life.

She builds her book around pivotal encounters with others or aims to answer questions that have been frequently posed to her, along the way sharing more of the story of her family, marriage, political life, friendships, frustrations, hopes, goals, and joys.

It sounds unfairly simplistic to summarize her practices with the short, catchy phrases she builds upon: "starting kind," "when they go low, we go high," and forming a "kitchen table" of friendships. While the ideas aren't complicated--which is the point of this book, after all: offering meaningful ways to be and to keep hope and be a light in the world--there are emotionally revealing stories and shining gems to dig into here.

I didn't necessarily come away with new approaches (aside from entertaining the idea of incorporating a version of her friend's "Hey, Buddy!" morning self-greeting), but I thoroughly enjoyed and felt calmed by listening to this wise, kind, savvy woman read her gorgeously written thoughts and well-crafted reflections.

Her writing--deep self-reflection with sometimes poetic phrasing--is just beautiful. I loved reading this and spending time with Michelle Obama.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Michelle Obama is also the author of Becoming and American Grown.


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