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And Then Life Happens: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Auma Obama , Ross Benjamin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99
Sold by: Macmillan
This price was set by the publisher

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Hardcover $19.92  
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Book Description

A moving account by Auma Obama about her life in Africa and Europe, and her relationship with her brother, Barack Obama.

While her younger brother Barack grew up in the U.S. and Indonesia, Auma Obama's childhood played out at the other end of the world in a remote village in Kenya, the birthplace of the siblings' shared father. Barack and Auma met for the first time in the 1980s, and they built a lasting relationship which lead to travels together in Kenya, research into their family history and finally Auma's support for her brother's political career and eventual bid for the U.S. presidency.

Auma spent sixteen years studying and living in Germany, moved to England for love, and gave birth to a daughter there. The tension between her original and chosen worlds and cultures was a constant challenge, and eventually Auma returned to Africa and worked to support young men and women in shaping their futures.

In And Then Life Happens, her candid and emotional memoir, Auma shares her own story as well as recollections of and experiences with her famous brother, who says about their first encounter: "I hugged her, we looked at each other, and laughed. I knew right then that I loved her."

Editorial Reviews


"A burnished look at a difficult, ruptured childhood in Kenya... [a] delicate, emotional work...that enlightens and deepens the public’s understanding of the president." -- Kirkus Reviews

"...engrossing... Especially poignant are the sections that tell how, as a college student, Auma finally got to know the mother who relinquished her as a baby. Despite the level of recognition Auma achieved during the 2008 presidential election, there are no airs here. The prose is simple, and Auma's honest, straightforward storytelling makes her an instantly likeable narrator." -- Publishers Weekly

About the Author

AUMA OBAMA was born in Kenya right after the country gained its independence. She grew up first with her mother and paternal grandparents, and later with her (and President Obama's) father and American step-mother. She now works in Nairobi for CARE International, an organization specializing in educational projects worldwide.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2707 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007FU7X6C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,317 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved Auma's story about her amazing life May 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read Auma's book almost straight through with just a couple of breaks. A fascinating look at her life growing up in Kenya, earning a scholarship to study in Germany where she eventually earned her PhD, of the account of first meeting her American brother Barack when both were in their 20's, and especially her work in Kenya as a youth counselor and the founder of the Sauti Kuu (Powerful Voices) Foundation. She is working to enable young people in rural Kenya to find their own voices, and to use what they have in their own communities to create a life for themselves rather than depending on charity from others or moving to a big city where they'd likely end up living in a slum. It's an inspiring and insightful story and Auma is a wonderful writer. Highly recommended.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating book... May 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
...about a girl who overcame the odds of family dysfunction, gender and race and triumphed because of her spirit, tenacity, intelligence and despite her self-doubt.

instead of a bitter and cynical person, she grew up to become a caring and generous woman who is accomplished in multiple disciplines and who is using her talents for the forces of good.

i particularly liked the fact that this is truly her story and that her brother's rise to fame is only one of many sub-plots. i highly recommend this book for anyone who's looking for a poignant, well-written story that will truly inspire and touch you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love to read memoirs. What do people really want the world to know about them and why? I read this fascinating memoir on my Kindle Fire, fully aware that it probably would not have been written had Auma Obama not been the half-sister of our president, Barack Obama.

This book is her story, how she coped with a dysfunctional family life, political changes in Kenya as the country transitioned from colonial rule, her education which was not typical for all African children in Kenya, and her escape to Germany for further study without informing her father. There are pictures included in the book and plenty of insights concerning the senior Obama and his clan.

Having read Barack Obama's detailed first book about his father and relatives in Kenya, I was aware of Auma, the half-sister who visited her brother in Illinois and later introduced him to his African family, including his grandmother when he visited Kenya. Auma recounts his other visits to the country as well as her visits to America, attending the wedding of Barack and Michelle Obama, meeting Barack's mother and other half-sister from Hawaii. She relates in detail her search for a happy marriage, her love for her daughter, and her desire to help children in Africa.

While there is some repetition, a bit too much about her love life, and an obvious desire to paint Obama Sr. as "brilliant", I enjoyed learning more about our President's African ancestry and traditions, the British educational system in Kenya, as well as Auma's experiences living in Germany and Britain. Yes there is a cultural divide expressed in this memoir but we are rewarded by the happy ending for her - the election of her half-brother as president of the United States, and his sincere love for her and his African ancestry. I'm sure he is proud of this book and Auma, who was able to answer so many questions about his absentee father and his complicated life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Then Life Happens: A Memoir September 7, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Auma Obama has in this book has shown that in Luo Culture Women have equal chances for education and prosperity. Those who know Kenyan Life in 1960's and 1970's know well how difficult it was to offer such education to girls.
Auma has also confirmed the important role women play in Luo Culture by bringing family members together. "Auma Ero Kamano kuom kelo owadwu dala kendo kuom wuotho kode e thurwa"~this is a Luo text that translates as follows:Auma, thank you for bringing your brother home and spending the time to show him around.
This is an interesting African story that is worth telling across the Luo lands and among the Luo all over the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful and Soulful Story of Life June 4, 2013
A powerful and soulful story of life so beautifully narrated! A remarkable reminder of the power of narrative highlighting a no-nonsense Afropolitan woman's story that takes us into spaces of Auma's life journey from rural Luo Kenya to other parts of the world. A candid revelation of Auma's lived experiences potent with human themes so artistically interwoven through prose, imagery and some shared poetry bring to life matters of love in its diverse dimensions, motherhood, marriage and relationships, family relations and the dynamics of blended and extended family setups, family separation, culture, multiculturalism, identity, ethnicity, class, gender, patriarchy, feminism and gender equality, racism, death, depression, self determination, self preservation, diversity, purpose, service, leadership, education, academia, post colonial education in Kenya, life in the Diaspora, international development ideology with a special focus on development in Africa, among others. Heart-rending insights and reflections of her late father and family's lives' during post independence Kenya are a necessary education that exposes the human side of its deep impact as fueled by the politics and dynamics of negative ethnicity. A captivating encounter of Auma's story of hope, passion and the resilience of the human spirit shared upon a balanced and thoughtful backdrop of her loving relationship with her famous brother, Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States of America. Thank you Auma for sharing your story and for the great work you are doing with the youth to help create conditions for a more humane and equitable existence for all. Peace!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic writer and beautiful
Fantastic writer and beautiful story
Published 2 months ago by Christian Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very interesting and informative. It gave me more insight into the life our president.
Published 8 months ago by S. C. GADDY
5.0 out of 5 stars NIce!
Great Book! What an interesting Young Lady; no wonder, she is the President's Half Sister no? I sure recommend this book!
Published 17 months ago by karin
4.0 out of 5 stars Auma Obama
Interesting read. Bought it because I was born and raised in Germany and quite impressed that a person from Kenya would write a book in German. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Uppie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insights into Kenya & the Obama family
Go on a journey that starts in the villages of Kenya, includes its capital Nairobi, flits over to Germany, the UK, the US and then back home to Africa. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Vered Ehsani
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlighening
Perhaps the author was cashing in on her famous last name, but in doing so, she gave more insight insight to a shared father and his roots. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Joseph F. Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written-translated from the original German.
Originally written in German this autobiography of Obama's sister is warmly written and gives insights into the roots of America's current president. Read more
Published 20 months ago by S. Hutek
4.0 out of 5 stars And Then Life happens: A memoir
Great story about the life and times of a woman from Kenya surviving in various cultures. Good read if you are interested how women transition from a minor role to a major role in... Read more
Published 22 months ago by carolann robertsl
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
Well written and places the reader inside the book to share the experience. I would recommend to everyone. I liked Auma's honesty
Published on March 5, 2013 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars And Then Life Happens: A Memoir
Although not a page turner, I found the book to be an interesting read. It gives very little new information outside of what I read in Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama. Read more
Published on January 15, 2013 by Marilyn
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