Like his father Barack, Obama too was destined for greater things. Barack in 1959, at age 33, was the University of Hawaii's first African student. Obama matched the feat in 1990 when he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
Obama's early life as the son of a white American woman and a black Kenyan father was full of questions. His constant struggle to find his true self leads him to travel to the country of his father. It's here that he meets his cousins and other elders. This journey transforms his life. He finally finds peace and the confidence to move ahead in life. The memoir presents this all beautifully.
Obama could easily pass of as a quality writer, at par with the politician he was to become in the future. His storytelling abilities match his brilliant oratory skills. The prose used highlights a clear thought process. What impresses me the most is the words of wisdom coming from a 34 years old man (at the time of print).
The book in general is an interesting mix of idealism and the pragmatism. For example he realises quite clearly in his career that 'in politics, like religion, power lay in certainty - and that one man's certainty always threatened anothers' '. It's this quality of knowing how to execute a seemingly difficult idea that sets both Obama and his book apart. Obama explores and offers solutions rather than mere painting a grim picture for the black community.
For a debut novel it brilliantly conveys a black man's confusion about his identity in a dominant white culture. Obama lends a powerful voice to the millions of ordinary black Americans facing the same challenges.
Barack Obama's journey in the book is an enlightening and enriching experience not just for him, but, the reader also.