The Becoming companion journal is designed to help readers capture their own journeys through life

By Maria Pasquini
October 07, 2019 07:30 AM

A year after the release of her blockbuster memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama is returning to bookshelves with a new project this fall.

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, will be released on Nov. 19 and feature an introduction from the former first lady — exclusively excerpted below.

The companion journal is intended to help readers capture their own journeys through life.

It “includes more than 150 inspiring questions and quotes that resonate with key themes in Mrs. Obama’s memoir and that are designed to help readers reflect on their personal and family history, their goals, challenges, and dreams, what moves them and brings them hope, and what future they imagine for themselves and their community,” according to publisher Penguin Random House.

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Obama’s memoir rocketed to the No. 1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list after one week of its publication in November 2018, and the hardcover edition sold more copies than any other book published in the U.S. in 2018, according to a press release from her book tour, which ended earlier this year.

She and her husband, former President Barack Obama, have been busy elsewhere as well: While he continues to work on a forthcoming memoir of his own, they are developing a slate of programming for Netflix.

Penguin Books

Becoming offers a candid account of her life, marriage, the journey to conceiving daughters Malia and Sasha and family’s time in the White House … and her thoughts about President Donald Trump.

In an interview with PEOPLE last year, Mrs. Obama, 55, talked about the value of being so open and about her and her husband seeking counseling for their relationship, revered by so many.

“Because we’re role models, it’s important for us to be honest and say, ‘If you’re in a marriage and there are times you want to leave, that’s normal,’ because I felt that way,” she said.

In the introduction to the forthcoming companion journal, Mrs. Obama recalls the journals she’s kept in her own life and what drew her back to them as she got older.

She writes:

“I’d only kept a journal for a short period of my life, for a couple of years during my late twenties as I was getting more serious with Barack and contemplating a new career. It was a tumultuous time filled with change, and I found that dedicating time to writing my thoughts down helped me navigate all the transitions. Then I put it away and didn’t pick it up again until I began writing my memoir. Instantly, I was transported back to that earlier version of myself, with all the warmth, heartbreak, and frustration flooding in.

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“The experience left me asking myself, ‘Why didn’t I journal more?’ The answer, like for so many of you, I’m sure, was that I simply got busy. I switched careers. I got married. I had children. Somewhere along the line, I ended up in ball gowns at the White House, however that happened.

“Looking back, I wish I’d taken more time to write down what I was thinking and feeling. I didn’t journal much because I talked myself out of it—journaling can feel a little intimidating and layered with implication, the idea being that once you put pen to paper, your thoughts have extra weight and meaning.

“What I recognize now, though, is far more simple: We don’t have to remember everything. But everything we remember has value.’ “

Excerpted with permission from Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama (courtesy of Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House), set to be released on Nov. 19.

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