Becoming Us, Chapters 12–15

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Last Updated on July 22, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1321

Chapter 12

Returning from their honeymoon, Michelle and Barack were happy that Bill Clinton had won the election for President. Barack had helped to register 110,000 new voters, demonstrating to politicians that African American voters mattered. Barack was hopeful for the Black community.

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Unfortunately, Barack had been so busy advocating for the public that he’d failed to meet his book deadline; the publisher cancelled the contract, and Barack now owed the $40,000 advance. Barack’s agent was confident that another publisher would buy it, so Barack proposed writing the book in complete isolation, although this would take him away from his new bride. His mother rented him a cabin in Bali, and he returned home in five weeks with a finished manuscript.

The newlyweds settled comfortably into married life. They purchased a condo, and Michelle changed jobs again to work for a nonprofit.

Chapter 13

As Executive Director of Public Allies, Michelle trained and placed talented young people in paid apprenticeships in community organizations. She appreciated that Public Allies sought opportunities for people whose leadership abilities might have gone overlooked.

Meanwhile, Barack was teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, working at the law firm, and running community workshops. His book, Dreams from My Father, was published in 1995. His wife began to understand that he carried every problem on his own shoulders, which is why he always needed a quiet place to concentrate, to read and write, and to be alone with his thoughts.

Barack was inspired to run for office by state senator Alice Palmer; he ran for and was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996. Unfortunately, his mother died of ovarian cancer before he was elected, which devastated him.

He engaged enthusiastically in his job, even introducing seventeen new bills in one week. However, politics always involved a fight, especially from the Republican majority, which voted down the bills. Nevertheless, Barack remained optimistic.

Moving again to another job, this time as an associate dean at the University of Chicago, Michelle connected the community with the university and students with the city. With a more reasonable paycheck and better hours, she could focus on her personal life.

Barack and Michelle wanted to have a baby, but they were having a difficult time conceiving. After miscarrying, they sought the help of a fertility doctor, and they eventually welcomed their first daughter, Malia Ann, to their family.

Chapter 14

Now that they were parents, Michelle and Barack’s every attention was focused on the baby. Barack was reelected to the state senate and was busier than ever.

Barack, Michelle, and Malia spent Christmas in Hawaii, but when Barack was called back for a special vote on an important crime bill, they were unable to return, because Malia was sick. Faced with a choice, he made a father’s decision to stay with his family and miss the vote.

The bill did not pass, and Barack absorbed much criticism. Michelle was concerned that this one event might destroy the good he had accomplished, as sometimes happens in politics. Barack remained steadfast, but he lost the Democratic primary.

Michelle and Barack’s second child, Natasha (Sasha) Marian, was born in June 2001. Soon after, a former mentor invited Michelle to apply for the position of Executive Director for Community Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Here was an opportunity for a full-time position in which she could make a difference while making enough money to take care of her family.

Years of Barack being at work all week and returning home late on Thursday nights took a toll on Michelle. In addition, she was bothered by Barack’s lack of punctuality: he would always become caught up in a project and lose track of time. She...

(The entire section contains 1321 words.)

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Becoming Us, Chapters 9–11


Becoming Us, Chapters 16–18