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Michelle Obama: First Lady of Hope Paperback – December 11, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

January 20, 2009. Inauguration Day. Making History.
Him—and Her.


“What would she wear?” the media asked. But Americans sought more than fashion: The mind. The mother. The woman. Michelle Obama. This is the first book to tell the astonishing story of a woman whose intellect, verbal flair, and poise are certain to make her one of the most influential First Ladies in history. A woman whose impassioned speech to the Democratic National Convention may have helped
win her husband the Oval Office. A woman touted as a future presidential candidate herself.


Readers are given a revealing and intimate look at Michelle Obama’s remarkable life—from her Chicago childhood to her education at Princeton and Harvard, from how she first met Barack Obama at the prestigious law firm where they were the only African Americans, to her role as his closest adviser, and to her own political beliefs. For Michelle, family comes first, and—like so many women who struggle with family and career—she seriously weighed her husband’s presidential ambitions before giving her stamp of approval. Apparently she struck a hard bargain: He had to give up smoking.

Down-to-earth. Witty. Honest. Outspoken. One-of-a-kind.

Michelle Obama

About the Author

Elizabeth Lightfoot is a freelance writer and editor who previously held jobs at The Associated Press as well as at weekly and daily newspapers in the northeast. She also works part-time overseeing publications for the school her children attend, allowing her to attempt to strike that elusive balance between career and motherhood, a challenge Michelle Obama spoke so much about during the campaign trail.

A contemporary of the future First Lady, Liz is a 1985 graduate of Harvard College, where she received a degree cum laude in English and American Literature. After college, she worked at The American University in Cairo, Egypt, where she also wrote free-lance articles for an English language magazine, Cairo Today. It was that experience that led her to pursue a career in journalism.

After a year working for a New Hampshire daily newspaper, she enrolled at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she received a Masters degree in 1988. She spent two years at The Associated Press, eventually leaving to free lance so she could spend more time with her growing family.

As a freelancer, Liz’s work has appeared in publications ranging from Vanity Fair (a book review) to The New York Times (features in the Connecticut section). For a time, she wrote regular columns for her local daily newspaper, The New London Day, focusing primarily on life as a mother with young children. She has also written extensively for businesses and philanthropic institutions. An internship at a local radio station led to an Associated Press Award for best feature story. She has edited publications for various institutions, including the United Nations.

Liz is also a dedicated volunteer, having served on various boards and/or committees to support causes she believes in, including education, the arts, the environment, and affordable housing.

Like the future First Lady, Liz considers her first job to be “Mom.” She is the proud mother of two sons and two daughters, ranging in age from 10 to 17. She, her husband, and children live in a converted barn in Lyme, Connecticut. The barn is as much of a job as her family and other work combined. But that’s another story.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (December 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599215217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599215211
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,872,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Denise L. Plourde-whitehair on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the 16 page Preface, and following 10 page Introduction, we learn quickly that Lightfoot was given two months to write the book, and a few days to update it after the general election. We also learn she never interviewed Michelle, and begin to hear her suppositions as to how the Obama family compares to her own. Surprisingly, the Preface and Introduction prove to be better than the following Chapters 1-10 (169 pages of medium sized font, wide spaced print) which are followed by 3 pages of Acknowledgements and another 26 pages of Notes referencing the sources she used to write the book. Anyone who was half paying attention to news broadcasts throughout the election season has already heard everything contained within. Lightfoot shares little we don't already know about Michelle. She often and quickly digresses at length onto other persons and situations in the campaign, and repeats these details again and again in chapter after chapter, all the time giving her opinion and irrelevant thoughts regarding situations. I admit to having stopped reading after Chapter 8 out of sheer boredom and frustration. The book lacks proper editing; at times she speaks to our new President Elect; at other times, it appears she is writing as if the general election decision has not been made yet. Lightfoot quotes and relies on opinions of a British journalist friend, as well as a couple of Michelle's classmates (located in a yearbook) who had little or no interaction with Michelle. It appears throughout that she is struggling to fill the pages in any way she can. I recommend skipping this book entirely. Lightfoot and others should make another attempt only after more of Michelle is revealed to us in her early years as First Lady, or through direct interviews with Michelle and her family.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By H. Wong on September 18, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am so excited to read this biography of Michelle Obama. She is smart, beautiful, hard-working, and a dedicated mother. For people who say you can't do it all, Michelle is the proof that you can! And she does it with grace and elegance, all from the heart, with sincerity that many other political figures don't show. My only regret with this Kindle edition is that I can't share it with my daughter!

UPDATE: Now that I've finished the book, I have to say I'm very disappointed. I am a BIG fan of Michelle Obama, but the author wrote this book without ever speaking with, or even having a personal e-mail from, Michelle. She basically Googled Michelle Obama and wrote about whatever she found on the internet. The author pretty quickly exhausts her info about Obama and then spends a lot of the book talking about her own uninteresting suburban life. What a bummer!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M'shindi's Friend on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was so looking forward to a book which would provide some in-depth and substantive information about this remarkable woman who will soon become our First Lady. However, I found that this book fell short of achieving that goal. It was apparent that the author had a short time to write the material in order to fulfill her editor's request and it showed. The inadequacies were underscored when the author revealed that she had not spoken to the subject of this book. How can you write an informed piece about a living person without speaking to her?

Some of her material illustrated that the author was not an authority on politics. Her analyses of some of the political situations that occurred during the race for the White House are shallow and off point.

I am looking forward to finding an excellent biography of Michelle Obama who, I believe, has a great story to tell. Truly, she is an inspiration for many and could be even more so if there is a true biography written about her life.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By X on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am so glad a friend loaned me this: kept me from wasting money buying it.

Frankly, I didn't get round to really reading it. On a quick glance it was clear that there is much more padding than substance. I just couldn't settle down to read it thoroughly, so I gave up. The very worst thing a biographer can do is write a really bad book about a really great, interesting person. When a good biography of Michelle Obama comes along it needs to get more than 5 stars. This one is worth less than one star, but there's no "no stars" option, so I have to give it a star it really does not deserve.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By gbc71727 on September 24, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
thoughtful and well-written. an interesting if somewhat unconventional delivery--the author combines michelle's story with a bit of her own, often suggesting an allegory between mrs. obama's humble roots and the happenings within her own respective life. this does occasionally detract from the main focus, but it also provides some interesting subtext that makes an at-times detached presidential spouse seem all the more familiar. overall, 'grace and intelligence' provides us with the rare biography that not only conveys the subject's life from an outward perspective but also draws us closer to a woman with whom we all, whether we realize it or not, can relate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I heart Target! on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I felt like this book was more about the campaign rather than about Michelle Obama. The first couple of chapters gave a little background information about the First Lady, but then went off topic to speak more about the campaign and Barack Obama. At times, I felt the author really strayed from topic to include little pieces of information that had no relevance or were a stretch to fit with book's topic. I really had wanted a book that told more about Michelle Obama's life prior to becoming to First Lady.
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