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Michelle Obama: First Lady of Hope

20 Nov 2008

It’s just a couple of weeks since Election Day and already available is this biography of Michelle Obama which includes coverage of her husband’s history- making victory as the first African-American to ascend to the Presidency. Almost as stunning as that amazing feat is the speed with which Elizabeth’s Lightfoot has managed to publish this very timely tome about the First Lady to be.

Ms. Lightfoot, a Harvard grad who also has a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, has worked as a reporter for the Associate Press. Unfortunately, as the author freely admits, she was “been denied access to Michelle and her close friends and family” while doing her research, so it’s no surprise that the final text definitely has the secondhand feel of an observer standing at a considerable distance from her subject.

Half of the insights made here sound like the casual observations of your average political junkie or couch potato who followed the campaign closely. The rest is comprised of copious quotes from TV talking heads or ordinary folks who might have had a brief brush with greatness, encountering Michelle in some capacity either in childhood, college or during her professional career.

At least the author never avoids any of the well-aired controversial issues surrounding Michelle, such as questions about her senior thesis at Princeton and her patriotism. In this regard, Elizabeth Lightfoot proves to be very loyal, protective and is quick to defend and dismiss allegations made by detractors as unfair.

The upshot is that what we have here is essentially a book-length fanzine except sans all the glossy pictures. I’d say it’s a safe bet that a bio of more substance will arrive soon, since the new First Family will undoubtedly inspire a veritable cottage industry of writers to wax poetic about their unlikely achievement.

Highly recommended only if you’ve been in a coma for the past two years and want to know how a guy named Barack Obama became the President of the United States, or if you’re impatient for a keepsake with a photo of him and his wife on the cover to display on your coffee table. Otherwise wait, because the definitive memoir about Michelle is yet to be released.

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