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My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
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My Beloved World (2013)

by Sonia Sotomayor

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Sonia Sotomayor is the quintessential American success story. From next to nothing to the Supreme Court, Sotomayor made the best of what she had and sought out what she didn’t have. I was impressed not only by the description of her hard work during her early life, but also about the candor with which she talked about not only her deficiencies, but also the help she received because of her ethnic heritage. She is an affirmative action success story having received a leg up where she deserved it to make up for some of the hardships of her early life where nothing was given to her. One thing I leaned in the book that surprised me is how Yale law school where Sotomayor attended, was understandably competitive to get into, but surprisingly uncompetitive to survive with no grades and no class rank, two benchmarks that make other law schools brutal. Doubtless, Sotomayor would have excelled wherever she had decided to go to law school. I didn’t know much about Sotomayor before reading this book, and having read it, I learned the most important thing I could have hoped for: I learned that we are more than well served by Sonia Sotomayor’s sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States. And I can’t say that for all of the rest of the Court. ( )
  DanDiercks | Dec 30, 2018 |
I have a great deal of respect for Justice Sotomayor and was very excited when she was appointed to the Supreme Court. I was very interested to learn about her background and her story and was glad to come across an inexpensive copy of this memoir.

I would rate the author 5 stars for a life of hard work, dedication to the greater good, and for her achievements, but the book itself I would give 3.5. While I enjoyed reading about Sotomayor's life growing up in the Bronx and then at Princeton and Yale, I really wanted to hear more about her challenges and successes as a lawyer and then as a judge. She tells the reader right at the start that her memoir will only cover her life up to becoming a judge, so I do not feel like she pulled one on me. However, my favorite parts were her stories as a District Attorney, and then working in a private law firm before being nominated as a federal judge.

As someone who studies history, I do feel like I gained a better appreciation for the difficulties that Latino people growing up in the Bronx (or any city I imagine) faced in the 1960s and 1970s. If for no other reason, that story makes this worth the read. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
My Beloved World - Sotomayor
Audio performance by Rita Moreno
4 stars

Judge Sotomayor’s gives a very open, readable, account of her childhood, her years of higher education, her brief marriage, her years as a New York State prosecutor and her experience in corporate law. The book ends with her first appointment as a federal judge.

The first hispanic and third female appointed to the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor says she wrote the book to answer many questions. Chiefly, the question is how did she do it?.Her parents were Puerto Rican Migrants. She grew up in the Bronx. Her father was an alcoholic who died when she was young. In elementary school she was diagnosed with childhood diabetes. Her life was in the ‘projects’. How did she move from this beginning to Princeton and Yale Law?

Like Sotomayor, I’m boomer. I laughed when she said that her childhood introduction to law was watching Perry Mason. I watched it with my father every week. But, it never occured to me that I might be a lawyer, let alone a judge. Judge Sotomayor describes herself as a child of unusual determination, out of necessity and personal inclination. She gives credit to a loving family, especially acknowledges her mother’s emphasis on a good education.

Reading this autobiography, made me think of the similarities to J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. They are a generation apart and from different ethnic backgrounds, but the questions are similar. Why me? How did I succeed when so many others fail? Vance seemed to give credit to lucky chances. His grandparents were there for him; his sister was a constant support. But, I think he gave himself less credit for his own personal effort. Sotomayor doesn’t discount the influence of family and ethnic history. She values and embraces it. She also speaks of her personal effort and ambition to higher achievement. She knows that she is a role model. I felt that this book was very much directed to a young audience. It has a bit of a soapbox message, ‘I did it. You can too.’

This was a good audiobook. Sotomayor reads the prologue herself and I loved listening to Rita Moreno read the rest of the book. (Echoes of West Side Story, I had go watch the dance routines.) I also had a hardback copy. The photographs added to my enjoyment of the text. ( )
  msjudy | Mar 28, 2018 |
I did not know much about Ms. Sotomomayor (other than the basics: Hispanic, Supreme Court justice, etc.) and thought I'd pick this up. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read about her childhood and earlier career, stopping very short of her appointment to SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States).

It was fascinating to read about her background, from being the child of an alcoholic father (who dies when the author is young) and a workaholic mother. I was pleasantly surprised to read how much she escaped into books and was the type to to think, rather than react (or react much later). Sounds like an introvert and it doesn't surprise me she eventually became a judge.

The book covers her childhood and family, school, college and legal career. She discusses a variety of topics from her background to being mistaken for being Jewish in court (unfortunately in a negative way) to her studies at Princeton and Yale to her trials in court (including a case on child pornography).

Overall the book was really fascinating, although towards the end my interest dropped off a bit. Her discusses of court cases and her early legal career did not interest me too much. But her discussion of her cousin Nelson from their childhood to his death at a young age was sad but compelling read.

Regardless of how you feel about her politically or otherwise, overall it's a really good read. If you have any interest in any of those who sit on SCOTUS, books about Hispanic people or are just curious about her in general, pick it up! ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
I listened to this book and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it; this is one amazing woman. ( )
  csobolak | Nov 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
But if the outlines of Justice Sotomayor’s life are well known by now, her searching and emotionally intimate memoir, “My Beloved World,” nonetheless has the power to surprise and move the reader. Whereas the justice’s legal writings have been described by reporters as dry, methodical and technical, this account of her life is revealing, keenly observed and deeply felt.
 
My Beloved World is filled with inspiring, and surprisingly candid, stories about how the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice overcame a troubled childhood to attend Princeton and Yale Law School, eventually earning a seat on the nation's highest court. But readers hoping to gain insight from the book into how Ms. Sotomayor might rule in key cases will have to dig deep for hints of her legal philosophy. The book, which covers he life prior to becoming a judge, barely says a word about the Constitution and even less about ideology. Yet one doesn't get the sense that politics were scrubbed from the text; it is rather that the topic isn't of much interest to the author.
added by sgump | editWall Street Journal, Carla Main (Jan 18, 2013)
 
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Epigraph
Perdonadle al desterrado
ese dulce frenesi
vuelvo a mi mundo adorado,
y yo estoy enamorado
de la tierra en que naci.

. . .
Forgive the exile
this sweet frenzy;
I return to my beloved world,
in love with the land where I was born.
- from "To Puerto Rico (I Return),"
by Jose Gautier Benitez
Dedication
First words
(Preface) Since my appointment to the Supreme Court, I have spoken to a wide variety of groups in different settings, answering all sorts of questions.
(Prologue) I was barely awake, and my mother was already screaming.
I was not yet eight years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307594882, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013: Happily, it is becoming a familiar story: The young, smart, and very hardworking son or daughter of immigrants rises to the top of American professional life. But already knowing the arc of Sonia Sotomayor’s biography doesn’t adequately prepare you for the sound of her voice in this winning memoir that ends, interestingly, before the Yale Law School grad was sworn in as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Hers is a voice that lands squarely between self-deprecating and proud, grateful and defiant; a voice lilted with bits of Puerto Rican poetry; a voice full of anger, sadness, ambition, and love. My Beloved World is one resonant, glorious tale of struggle and triumph. --Sara Nelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:52 -0400)

"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 self-invention, alongside Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father"--… (more)

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