My Beloved World Kindle Edition by Sonia Sotomayor
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An instant American icon--the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court-tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir. With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. She writes of her precarious childhood and the refuge she took with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. She describes her resolve as a young girl to become a lawyer, and how she made this dream become reality: valedictorian of her high school class, summa cum laude at Princeton, Yale Law, prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, private practice, federal district judge before the age of forty. She writes about her deeply valued mentors, about her failed marriage, about her cherished family of friends. Through her still-astonished eyes, America's infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-discovery and selfinvention, alongside Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father.
Reviews An amazing book by an amazing human being -- what other U.S. Supreme Court would dare to write and publish a book like this. So proud we have her on the court. Thank you, President Obama! I wrote (a more restrained...) review for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and it was published last Friday (International Women's Day!) -- I'll just copy the first few paragraphs here: "When I start a review, I always arm myself with stacks of post-its. By the time I finish reading, the book look like a porcupine, with yellow post-its sticking out of the pages reminding me of memorable quotes or key points in the author’s analysis. This time, the stack of post-its on my armchair sat untouched. Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, My Beloved World, is a page-turner. I completely forgot about the post-its. Sotomayor shares her life story -- from her youth in a South Bronx housing project, to her love for Puerto Rican culture, to her challenges as one of a handful of Latina women in Ivy League universities in the 70s – with exceptional honesty. Moreover, she is an elegant writer: her romance with language has not been dulled by reading and writing volumes of legalese. Her stories also reveal a comic streak. When first named to the federal bench, she quips: “I was a judge, how could I not follow the rules? I don’t claim to be flawless: I’m a New Yorker and I jaywalk with the best of them."
Sonia Sotomayor has penned a gentle marvel in which she writes elegantly about her childhood, the loss of her father, her temperamentally imposing mother and grandmother, her family's close-knit social structure, her trips to Puerto Rico, her studies and work, and what some called her dispassionate mindset. Much of this reminded me very much of my husband's and his family's story – this is the story of immigrants, working to
create a strong new life in the United States. Sotomayor seems a wonderful person and a level justice on our nation's highest court. I was glad to get to know her better through her personal writing.
If you read only one book this year, let it be Supreme Court Justice's Sotomayor's "My Beloved World." The Justice creates a narrative flow that hooked me from the get-go. Her history, which parallels that of my father, a self-made man, is familiar to those of us who experienced poverty, loss and illness in the 20th century. She artfully describes the immigrant experience, growing up in the Bronx and the love of her extended Puerto Rican family -- her grandmother's love was as life-saving as the insulin shots she had to give herself, beginning when she was eight years old. Imagine what she felt when a Princeton Dean told her that she would graduate Magna Cum Laud from the august college. She looked up the unfamiliar phrase and continued her journey to Yale law school. I felt like such a slacker. One of my former non-fiction writing professors told me that autobiography belongs on the fiction shelf. While his statement is probably true, she skates easily over the highs and lows of of the forces that shaped her, and she stopped short of her tenure on our highest court. She provides hints that help us decode her thinking to date about her decision-making on our highest court. Like most self-made women, she does not delve into her personal life, which gets short shrift because of her dedication to the law. The law makes a lonely partner. She's not through yet, however. My favorite aunt was the second state judge in the state of South Carolina. I asked her once at a family gathering how she navigated the shoals of a man's world--how the men I worked with threw so many obstacles in my way. She turned to me and said in her husky, cigarette-lowered voice: "The man's world is the only world. Go for it." At that moment, I learned how to stop bifurcating. Thanks, Aunt Ida Mae.
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