I’m reading Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. I’m not done yet, just about 1/3 of the way through. I usually race through novels (just finished A Dog’s Way Home in a day). I usually take longer with nonfiction as I’m pondering and contemplating the life of this person whose autobiography I’ve chosen to read. I don’t read many; the memoirs of Elsa Lanchester (delicious), Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Haven Kimmel (not famous but a Terrific book!), Portia deRossi (a must-read. harrowing). Now, as I read Michelle’s book I’m constantly stopping to reminisce about my own childhood in Chicago.
I, too, used to hang out at Water Tower Place in downtown (post-high school though)! I was one of the smart kids in my school. No one else in my family had gone to college, either.
The similarities end. I had a single mom (more like the mom in #Roma only not rich; a single working mom with 4 kids who worked constantly). She got us into Catholic school (hey Michelle, I went to Mount Carmel in Chicago!!) (Elementary school…). I did go to college on scholarship but dropped out as I was too fixated on starting my acting career.
After childhood, upon entering the “world” (theatre, college), I learned many confounding things (not just artichokes). I found that white people don’t dance much at parties; rather they have cocktails and stand around and talk. (I’m like that now.) For some words, I knew the meaning, but I did not know how to pronounce them. (I learned words from the many books I used to read.) A couple of times I mispronounced words. I’ll never forget the hilarity that ensued when I said “puh-LAT-able” in a conversation at one of those theatre cocktail parties. I started looking up pronunciations more diligently. Many of the things other people took for granted, such as summer internships, study abroad – all these things were foreign. (Talent is abundant in this world; opportunity not as much. I tried so very very hard to give my own kids a leg up and as many advantages as I could muster.)
There’s something about this book, and the Spike Lee movie Crooklyn (believe it or not), that reminds me soooo much of my own childhood. I did not grow up in Brooklyn; rather, Chicago. I am not black; rather, 1/2 Italian 1/2 PR, but raised Puerto Rican. Crooklyn is one of my favorite movies.
As I read, I keep thinking about the horrible, horrible people who have said such unbelievably horrid, mean things about Michelle. It hurts my heart. I just can’t get over it. Well, since this is my acting blog and I mustn’t dwell on negatives, I will move on.
I can’t wait to read more about Michelle’s life, her marriage to Barack, her philosophies in life. What a Woman!