‘Barack And Michelle: Portrait Of An American Marriage’

The Bookworm by Terri Schlichenmeyer

Imagine living your married life with an interested audience of sev- eral billion people. Read about what it’s like in “Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage” by Christopher Anderson.

The Obamas’ early years have been visited by many biographers and journalists. She was working for a law firm, he was a law stu- dent. She was assigned to be his in-office mentor, he insistently wooed her. That, of course, is how a strong-willed leader-type born in Hawaii ended up married to a strong-willed leader-type born on Chicago’s South Side.

But what most people don’t know are the behind-the-scenes scenes in the marriage of our president and his wife.

From the time he started college at Columbia University, Barack (Anderson refers to both Obamas by first name) was an easy-going idealist who wanted to “give back” and “change the world.”

Because he pursued low paying employment with higher social returns, the couple struggled with money problems. His absences while pursuing public office made her feel like a single mother. She hated his smoking habit and his messiness. He hated being apart from his family.

Though infidelity wasn’t an issue, she was angered when his star started rising and women aggressively flirted with him. He, too, was taken aback by it, but he was focused: He thought he had a shot at the presidency. She told him that if he didn’t win in 2008, there wouldn’t be a second go at the job.

Being familiar with Anderson’s past works, I was surprised that I really didn’t like this book at first. The first 100 pages is a rehashing of what we already know. But I began to enjoy Anderson’s take on the lives of the Obamas, their children and family. Because of some teas- ing “Wow!” tidbits and a few little- known stories, Anderson makes it all fresh.

If you want to make sense of the man (and wife) behind the office, you’ll enjoy this biography.

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