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The Light We Carry

by Michelle Obama

Kirkus A heartening pep talk from the former first lady. Obama's previous book, Becoming, was the bestselling book of 2018, translated into 24 languages and embraced around the world—not only because the author was already beloved and admired, but because the memoir shared the details of a unique, impressive life story. This follow-up is the kind of book that gets published because everyone wants more, whether or not there actually is any more to say. Inspired by roundtable discussions with young women and college students—and by questions asked on her arena book tour—Obama recapitulates and expands her guiding beliefs, giving us "a glimpse inside my personal toolbox…what I use professionally and personally to help me stay balanced and confident, what keeps me moving forward even during times of high anxiety and stress." We've heard before about the author's experiences as a Black woman at Princeton; the inspiring example of her father; the importance of friendship in her life; the early days of her relationship with her husband; and the decision to move her down-to-earth mother to the White House. She returns to those topics here, this time focusing less on storytelling than on crystallizing advice for those dealing with experiences of otherness, prejudice, "not-mattering" and loneliness (12% of Americans say they have no friends at all!). The author strongly believes our weaknesses can fuel our strengths, offering the example of inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s overcoming her speech impediment. Toward the end of the book, Obama addresses the idea she's become most famous for "going high," first articulated at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. "But have you seen the world lately?" people ask her, after all the miseries and outrages of the last several years. "Are we stillsupposed to be going high?" Read the book to find out. No surprises or reveals but plenty of warmth and encouragement, particularly for young people. A good holiday gift. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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