Tuesday, November 20, 2018

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 


First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.   

Today I'm featuring an upcoming read, Becoming by Michelle Obama.  The excerpts shared are from the hardcover version on loan from a colleague and friend who is my best book buddy.



March 2017
When I was a kid, my aspirations were simple.  I wanted a dog.  I wanted a house that had stairs in it--two floors for one family.  I wanted, for some reason, a four-door station wagon instead of the two-door Buick that was my father's pride and joy.  I used to tell people that when I grew up, I was going to be a pediatrician.  Why?  Because I loved being around little kids and I quickly learned that it was a pleasing answer for adults to hear.  Oh, a doctor!  What a good choice!  In those days, I wore pigtails and bossed my older brother around and managed, always and no matter what, to get As at school.  I was ambitious, though I didn't know exactly what I was shooting for.  Now I think it's one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child--What do you want to be when you grow up?  As if growing up is finite.  As if at some point you become something and that's the end.


Becoming Me


I spent much of my childhood listening to the sound of striving.  It came in the form of bad music, or at least amateur music, coming up through the floorboards of my bedroom--the plink plink plink of students sitting downstairs at my great-aunt Robbie's piano, slowly and imperfectly learning their scales.  My family lived in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, in a tidy brick bungalow that belonged to Robbie and her husband, Terry.  My parents rented an apartment on the second floor, while Robbie and Terry lived on the first.  Robbie was my mother's aunt and had been generous to her over many years, but to me she was kind of a terror.  Prim and serious, she directed the choir at a local church and was also our community's resident piano teacher.  She wore sensible heels and kept a pair of reading glasses on a chain around her neck.  She had a sly smile but didn't appreciate sarcasm the way my mother did.  I'd sometimes hear her chewing out her students for not having practiced enough or chewing out their parents for delivering them late to lessons.

What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
I love the descriptiveness of these opening passages, which invoke my own memories of childhood--my home, my thoughts and plans, relatives who lived nearby, and being questioned often about what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.


  1. Yes, yes, yes, can't wait to read this one. I miss those no drama days so much.

  2. And naturally warm, witty, intelligent, and caring about others.

  3. I'll be looking forward to your review.

  4. I must start this one right away! I have it sitting on my coffee table, and I'm tempted to throw out my list of "up next" books, and plunge right in. I saw two interviews with Michelle: by Robin Roberts and by Oprah, so I know her story will be thoroughly engaging.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

    1. I saw her interview with Oprah, which makes me look forward to starting the book even more.

  5. I don't usually read celebrity memoirs but it sounds good. Thanks for stopping by Girl Who Reads.

    1. I'm not a big memoir reader, but I make the exception for people that I admire.

  6. Watched a couple of interviews lately talking about her book. Sounds like a good read.

  7. That last sentence in the preface is really something to think about

  8. I'm wanting to read this one too. I love that sentence about not asking kids what they want to be! As someone who has tried various jobs in my adult life, I say you can start with one thing and move on to another - your choice. All part of your 'becoming', right?