This charming series of 16 essays about Michelle Obama, deftly assembled by editor Chambers (Mama’s Girl), finds inspiration in various facets of the 46th First Lady of the United States as her time in that role draws to a close. Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City, draws parallels between their respective positions in “Two Black First Ladies Walk into a Room.” Amherst professor Tanisha Ford ruminates on Obama’s evolving sense of style, from J. Crew to Jason Wu, in “She Slays.” Chef Marcus Samuelsson shares his excitement in preparing the Obamas’ first state dinner in “Cooking with a Narrative” (complete with mouthwatering menu). Rutgers professor Brittney Cooper examines the friendship of Michelle Obama and Beyoncé in “Lady O and King Bey.” Many of the contributors applaud the validation they feel the Obama administration has given them. In “Crushing on Michelle,” Damon Young, founder of the online magazine VSB, contrasts his own generation’s experience to that of his young niece and nephew, for whom an African-American president and first lady “is literally all they know.” That sense of gratitude resonates through each offering in this compilation, a warm tribute to an inspiring woman of color who has lived in the public eye for more than eight years. (Jan.)
This review has been updated: an additional writer was added to the collection of essays.