While it may be natural for politicians to share personal stories in the hope of becoming more relatable, President Obama’s book seems especially personal. When he talks about interacting with his daughters or his dating relationship with First Lady Michelle Obama, the picture he paints is lovely but practical. He mentions the difficulty of managing his family and political commitments, and he praises Michelle for her strength as a mother and grace as a wife. President Obama admits some of his shortcomings and emphasizes the value of the seemingly little but nonetheless important acts involved in raising a family.
The 44th President’s optimism is engaging. His work as a Senator and exposure to the benefits and beguilements of government bureaucracy did not corrupt his positive outlook. The slow-moving aspects of legislation and pressures of such a public life could easily dampen a one’s spirits, especially one so keen on changing society for the better. The President’s attitude towards the future in spite of the complexities of age old arguments and thickness of partisan lines was one of reason and hope.
There are, of course, political policy issues covered as President Obama wrote this book in preparation for his campaign for the Presidency. Whether or not one agrees with his political positions, it’s clear that his opinions in this book were well thought-out and fashioned over years of personal experiences and public engagements. While much of his opinions seem rightfully diplomatic, he does talk about the absence of “white guilt”, the dangers of polarizing media, and the importance keeping any one religion from driving government policy. These hot topics and the history of President Obama’s terms in the oval office have the potential to turn many people towards or away from this book. Regardless of one’s opinions, reading this book provides a better understanding of the 44th President of the United States while encouraging U.S. citizens to look forward to a bright future.