I told myself that this was going to be a positive, happy review - and then I saw all the racist, hateful one star reviews for this book and got angry, because those people are exactly what is wrong with this world, and (specifically to the United States) this country. Like all other progressive people, I was shocked when Trump took (literally took because spoiler: he totes did not deserve it and probably didn't "win" it fairly) the presidency. Shocked, because I don't think anyone really thought that walking carrot can on legs was capable of forming an intelligible sentence, let alone leading a country. And yet here we are, in 2018. It's been two long years.
Anyway, Trump had a big (might we say yuge) pair of shoes to fill because Obama was a great man. Even if you don't agree with all of his policies, you have to admit (if you're being fair and non-partisan) that he was coming from a good place. He respected the military, loved our youth, sympathized with the plights and the struggles of the everyday people, and goddamn, he loved his wife and his kids. Even if you think (how could you?) that he wasn't a good president, he was a good man. A wonderful, kind, compassionate man who was intelligent and driven and hard-working.
Is it obvious that I kind of have a crush on him?
Man, all I want in life is for someone to look at me the way Barack does at Michelle - and if you need proof of that, there are receipts. Full color receipts, taken in glorious, loving detail by Pete Souza.
Pete Souza was the White House photographer under the Obama administration, and in this lovely full-color book, you are treated to a Reader's Digest version of Obama's eight years in office. You see him with foreign leaders, both hostile and friendly; you see his daughters grow from young kids to young women; you see him totally head-over-heels in love with his wife; you see how much people, kids but adults too, look up to him; you see how much he really felt our nation's tragedies (as opposed to orange carrot cans who basically say that devastating wildfires are our fault for not raking enough, unlike Finland - cue that picture of the Finnish woman Hoovering the forest floor).
The pictures are gorgeous, emotional, heartfelt, and touching. I read it with my mom and kept showing her page after page, admiring Mrs. Obama's dresses or squealing gleefully over the many (there are many) pictures of him goofing around with kids. There's a Twitter account I follow called ObamaPlusKids that serves as a highlight reel of some of his most touching moments with youth. Is it any wonder that Barack and Michelle are the most respected and admired people in the U.S.?
Buy this book. Buy it to support an amazing photographer and the best first family. Reading it is bittersweet because it's a reminder of better times, but it makes me hopeful for the future. <3
5 out of 5 stars