Žiadne vysokohodnotné umelecké dielo to nie je, ale človek sa dozvie veľa malých zaujímavostí (americké reálie). Už len pre ne sa túto knihu oplatí prečítať. Ale okrem toho na mňa urobili dojem dva motívy, ktoré sa tiahli prakticky celým rozprávaním.
Prvý je ten, že záleží na tom, koho poznáš a kto Ťa pozná. Obamovci si cieľavedome a prakticky stále budovali sieť ľudí. Aj v tomto kontexte zrejme platí to outlierovské ponaučenie, že na to, aby bol človek výnimočný, tak si to na jednej strane musí odmakať, ale na druhej musí vedieť rozpoznať a využiť príležitosť, lebo tá sa nutne niekde pri tom odmakávaní naskytne.
A ten druhý, feministicky neprehliadnuteľný, je ten, ako sa Michelle prispôsobovala Barackovej kariére (nevyhnutne, vedome), ako to vnímala (ťažko, nespravodlivo) a ako sa s tým vysporiadala. To posledné ma zarazilo najviac. Len jeden príklad za všetky.
My s Mišom nie sme ani zďaleka tak vyťažení ako Obamovci, ale aj tak je pre nás problém nájsť si čas, aby sme mohli športovať (odkedy máme deti). Boli obdobia, keď som športovala ja a vtedy sa on prakticky nehýbal. Teraz je obdobie, že Mišo pravidelne behá a ja sa neviem dostať na plaváreň ani raz do týždňa. Akoby to boli spojené nádoby, spoločný objem času, ktorý sa dá na toto minúť a keď jeden z nás vyčerpá, druhému neostáva. Chce to nemalú vedomú snahu, aby to tak nebolo, ongoing negotiation bez konca na dohľad, lebo život stále beží so svojimi nepravidelnosťami, ktoré akúkoľvek vyhovujúcu dohodu za chvíľu zmetú zo stola.
A čo spravili v rovnakej situácii Obamovci? Barack nič. Žil si ďalej svojím životom. Ostalo na Michelle, aby sa s tým vysporiadala. To, že ak si chcela zacvičiť, musela vstávať brutálne skoro ráno, musela jej mama vstávať brutálne skoro ráno, aby k nim prišla a postrážila zatiaľ deti, to sa jeho nedotklo.
A takéto situácie tam boli ako gorálky na šnúrke jedna za druhou. Ťažko sa mi čítali.
Advice, when she offered it, tended to be of the hard-boiled and pragmatic variety. “You don’t have to like your teacher,” [mother] told me one day after I came home spewing complaints. “But that woman’s got the kind of math in her head that you need in yours. Focus on that and ignore the rest.”[Michele’s mother] listened, but she didn’t absolve him from the choice at hand. Instead, she returned him to his agony with a blithe shrug of her shoulders. “Handle it how you think best,”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.But as I’ve said, failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result.It was as close as I’d come to understanding what motivated Barack. The world as it should be.I knew I was no smarter than any of them. I just had the advantage of an advocate. I thought about this more often now that I was an adult, especially when people applauded me for my achievements, as if there weren’t a strange and cruel randomness to it all.Barack was hoping to ride all the way to school with the girls, but he knew it would create too much of a scene. His motorcade was too big. He’d become too heavy.In our life before children, such frustrations might have seemed petty, but as a working full-time mother with a half-time spouse and a predawn wake-up time, I felt my patience slipping away until finally, at some point, it just fell off a cliff.I now tried out a new hypothesis: It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be. I was too busy resenting Barack for managing to fit workouts into his schedule, for example, to even begin figuring out how to exercise regularly myself.It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.Our decision to let Barack’s career proceed as it had—to give him the freedom to shape and pursue his dreams—led me to tamp down my own efforts at work.I thanked her again, hung up, and sighed. None of this had been my choice in the first place. None of this was my choice at all.I didn’t understand how he could look at Sasha and Malia, now five and eight, with their pigtailed hair and giggly exuberance, and feel any other way. It hurt me sometimes to think that he did.Barack and I had been through five campaigns in eleven years already, and each one had forced me to fight a bit harder to hang on to my own priorities. Each one had put a little dent in my soul and also in our marriage.In general, I felt as if I couldn’t win, that no amount of faith or hard work would push me past my detractors and their attempts to invalidate me. I was female, black, and strong, which to certain people, maintaining a certain mind-set, translated only to “angry.” It was another damaging cliché, one that’s been forever used to sweep minority women to the perimeter of every room, an unconscious signal not to listen to what we’ve got to say.I was now starting to actually feel a bit angry, which then made me feel worse, as if I were fulfilling some prophecy laid out for me by the haters, as if I’d given in. It’s remarkable how a stereotype functions as an actual trap. How many “angry black women” have been caught in the circular logic of that phrase? When you aren’t being listened to, why wouldn’t you get louder? If you’re written off as angry or emotional, doesn’t that just cause more of the same?
Tu je ešte jeden rozhovor s Michelle.