The memoir is landing at a moment when the former president and first lady have returned to public life after mostly lying low in the months following the 2016 election. Mr. Obama campaigned energetically for Democratic candidates in the midterms, and Mrs. Obama has launched a new education project for adolescent girls and an initiative to promote voter registration and turnout. Now, she is about to travel the country on a 10-city book tour organized by Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter. At promotional events in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and elsewhere, Mrs. Obama will appear at sports stadiums with high profile moderators like Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon and Valerie Jarrett. (In some venues, front row seats with a “meet and greet” package are priced at $3,000; 10 percent of the tickets in each city are being given away to local charities, schools, and community groups.)
[ Read The Times’s review of Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” ]
With the publication of “Becoming,” the Obamas now seem set to make their mark not just in politics, but in popular culture. Last year, they announced a joint book deal with Penguin Random House that was rumored to exceed $60 million, a large portion of which is going to their foundation and other charities. This year, they signed a multiyear production deal with Netflix, to produce films and television shows through their company, “Higher Ground Productions.” (They recently acquired screen rights to Michael Lewis’s new book, “The Fifth Risk,” for their company.)
“Becoming,” which The New York Times received a copy of, is in many ways a fairly conventional first lady’s memoir: An insider’s view of what it was like to live through national tragedies and other major events, in one of the most high-profile positions in the world. She describes the highs and lows of her husband’s eight years in office, like learning the gutting news of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., and how her husband summoned her to his side for comfort, something he rarely did during work hours, and the moment he told her that the mission to kill Osama bin Laden was successful.
But as the first African-American first lady, Mrs. Obama’s experience was far from typical, and she writes about feeling greater scrutiny than her predecessors.