‘Becoming’: Michelle Obama visits Portland

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than a month after having to postpone her date at the Moda Center, former First Lady Michelle Obama visited Portland to talk about her memoir, “Becoming.”

Originally, Michelle Obama was set to bring her nationwide tour to Portland on February 9. But winter weather forced its postponement.

The 80-minute conversation with Obama on Tuesday, moderated by former White House staffer, chef and former Let’s Move Executive Director Sam Kass, started at 8 p.m. By Tuesday afternoon, fewer than 100 tickets scattered throughout the arena were available for the event.

In a sold-out arena Tuesday evening, Obama shared insights into “Becoming.” She touched on her upbringing in Chicago, her marriage and her time in the White House, though the former First Lady said that part of her life is not the focus of her story. 

“I wanted to take people on a journey of a life,” she said. “I also knew that the least important part of my story, Michelle Obama’s story, wasn’t the eight years in the White House.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Obama met with a small group of book club members at Northeast Portland’s Broadway Books.

“I had a great conversation,” Obama said later in the evening at the Moda Center. “I told them one of the things I realized is how rare it is that a young woman of my age, my upbringing, race, who gets to write her own story.” 

The experience at the book store is one that the store’s owners will never forget. 

“Her advice and her kindness to them — sharing her story — it was just really authentic,” said Kim Bissell. 

Obama continues her 15-event U.S. and Canada book tour Thursday in British Columbia, Edmonton and then to the Tacoma Dome Sunday, March 24, for a conversation with late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. She also plans six appearances in Europe during the next two months. The tour ends in mid-May with a conversation in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium with TV talk show host Stephen Colbert.

Since its publication, “Becoming” hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 3 million copies in the US and Canada. The hardcover edition of “Becoming” has had 22 printings of more than 5.2 million books.

The Portland Tribune contributed to this story.

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