Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Title: My Beloved World
Author: Sonia Sotomayor
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Knopf (Audio by Random House)
Publish Date: January 2013
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.  She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. 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-invention and self-discovery."

My Two Cents:

Before reading this book or rather listening to this book as it were, I really did not know much about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's background at all. This book is Justice Sotomayor's memoir of her childhood and her entrance into the world of law. The book doesn't cover up to the present day and really does not even talk about how she became a Supreme Court Justice but this memoir is so rich and Sotomayor's early life is so fascinating that you don't even miss that she doesn't talk about the more recent years of her life.

Sotomayor really has a fascinating and amazing life. She grew up poor in the Bronx with two immigrant parents, an alcoholic father and a mother who was incredibly supportive of Sotomayor and her brother and truly helped to drive them forward. Sotomayor is perfectly candid about what her life was like during this time. The candor is just a part of what makes this book really special. Her life was hard and it is amazing to see how she was able to rise above the conditions that would have stopped or stymied so many other people in order to go on to have a truly amazing career. So few people become Supreme Court Justices and even fewer women have become Supreme Court Justice.

I really love reading stories of truly inspirational people. Sotomayor never brags in this book. She seems so down to earth. In the foreword of the book, she says something along the lines of how she wants to show people who have come from a background where they believe that they aren't going to be able to climb that ladder and get to the point where they are able to achieve really amazing things. Even though I really enjoyed this book, part of me would love to see a sequel of sorts where Sotomayor talks more about her recent life, including her time on the Supreme Court.



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