So much so that Slevin, a first time author who worked as a journalist for the Miami Herald and The Washington Post, examined her life in and out of the White House in a new biography, “Michelle Obama: A Life.”
“I never wanted to write a book until I felt that I had something to say and until I had a story that excited me and Michelle Obama’s life is that story,” he told Daniels. “I thought she deserved a book where she is at the center of that narrative, where she is not just ‘Wife Of The More Famous Barack Obama.’”
With Mrs. Obama being “a real player in the national conversation right now,” Slevin wanted the page turner to reflect his desire to “what she is doing in The White House and why, where those ideas came from, really where that passion came from.”
“The more I worked on the book, the more clear it became that what she’s doing now connects very closely with her upbringing, with the lessons of her childhood and her experiences along the way,” he said.
In all, Slevin spent four-plus years working on the biography. Research for the tome included going through Obama’s interviews, speeches and other published materials as well as speaking with numerous family members, friends and professional colleagues
Despite interviewing the first lady twice while on the campaign trail in 2007, Daniels noted that the White House did not greenlight any new interviews with Obama to Slevin for his book.
Nevertheless, Slevin put together a work that feels as though FLOTUS wrote the biography herself.
“Her voice carries through the book,” said Slevin, who currently works as a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism). “The book starts in her voice where she talks to some kids in Anacostia and it ends with [her] remarks at Maya Angelou’s memorial service. So even though I wasn’t able to interview Mrs. Obama, her voice carries throughout.”
Items touched on in the book include Obama’s motivation for helping people as well as the amount of outward disrespect the first lady has endured over the years
“One of the things I did not appreciate was the vitriol that she faces as a black woman in this role,” Slevin revealed. “You can see it in emails and photo-shopped pictures and comment sections on websites. This is a job she didn’t ask for; this is a job for which she is not paid. She is doing a remarkable service and yet there are some people out there who can barely contain their anger and their vitriol.”
On a personal note, Slevin made sure to acknowledge Michelle Obama’s role as a parent as he noted how she more than lived up to the title of “Mom-In-Chief.”
“When she said that she would be Mom-In-Chief, part of that was to give herself a little time to figure out what role she would play as First Lady,” Slevin said. “But a big part of it was she really meant it. She wanted to make sure that Malia and Sasha were in a good place.”
For more of Daniels’ interview with Slevin, click here.