I returned from ‘Asri prayer and brought out Michelle Obama’s Becoming from my bag. I fumbled into my small bag pack and slipped out my Airpods. I mentioned to my roommates that I was going out to read. I bought Becoming last year and I’d been finding it quite difficult to flip past the tenth page. I don’t know why but I know it is something that happens to me when I love a book and I don’t want to finish the beautiful sentences in the book. Just like when I was reading Teju Cole’s Known and Strange Things. But that’s not the case with Becoming, I am sure. Probably school, or laziness. As I was bowing and squatting on my prayer, the smiling face of Michelle Obama on the cover of the book kept recurring to me. I couldn’t wait to finish my prayer and run back home to struggle the book out of the bag I packed it with my other books. It felt like a revelation.
And maybe it was.
When I bought Becoming, I felt a special kind of pride. Since 2018 that the book was released in 2018, the title has stuck with me. Becoming. A friend had sent me an e-copy but I didn’t feel it. I still don’t why, but Becoming, as a word, as a book title, speaks something unexplainable to me, and reading the book without holding it in my hands won’t make me arrive at my desire.
As I am reading this book now, I feel, in a little way, connected to it. I see a different world out of Michelle Obama; different from what I see in videos or watch on YouTube. To know that the masquerade tree also grows out of the soil, very low before stretching to become that high. To experience the childhood of the former first lady of America motivates me that it doesn’t have to be glamorous in the beginning. Half way into the book, and everything is appealing. Family. Fatherhood. Childhood. American society. I still can’t tell exactly what interests me more in the book; the title or the book itself. But I think it’s the title.
Ahmad Adedimeji Amobi is a Nigerian creative writer. His works appear in Voyage YA Journal, Hobart Pulp, Litro UK, FlashBack Fiction, Brittle Paper and elsewhere. He tweets @ahmad_adedimeji.