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My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
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My Beloved World (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Sonia Sotomayor

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392None27,261 (4.06)55
Member:Schmerguls
Title:My Beloved World
Authors:Sonia Sotomayor
Info:Knopf (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:autobiography, Bronx, Puerto Rico, Princeton, Yale, Supreme Court

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My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (2013)

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» See also 55 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I think this may be one of my favorite memoirs I've read in a long time. If you're looking for recent stuff, such as being nominated and then appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, you won't find that in this book. What you will find is a candid, forthright description of Justice Sotomayor's earlier life: growing up as a girl of Puerto Rican heritage, in a low income, but hard working family, overcoming economic odds, health threats (Juvenile Diabetes in that time had far worse outcomes), school and university experiences, and life in her early days as a lawyer and wife. It was fascinating, particularly those early days. Justice Sotomayor's description of her interview at Radcliffe was especially great, enough so that I read it to my husband. Essentially, she'd never encountered anyone in a little black dress and pearls giving an interview before, had never seen an oriental carpet, nor a white couch (as was in the interviewer's office) let alone a couch without plastic on it. Then these two little lap dogs came barreling down on her, barking furiously, and she knew Radcliffe was not a fit for her. (Later, my husband and I ran into a pair of lapdogs yapping at us, and christened them "Radcliffe rats".) I was impressed with Justice Sotomayor before reading this book, but after doing so, really do admire her for what she has done with her life, and for holding true to her principles and the law of the US. ( )
  bookczuk | Mar 28, 2014 |
This fine autobiography came recommended to me. Ms. Sotomayor comes from a hard scrabble neighborhood in 1950s/60s New York City where she became a tough, smart, and tenacious D.A. I liked how she goes through various legal and courtroom procedures with clear, straightforward prose since I am a crime novelist. She even includes a private detective at one point while hunting down the vendors of knockoff purses. Some details about her colorful life--I won't list them here--surprised me. As a person, I believe I would like her after my completing her memoir. She certainly would have a lot of different things to talk about in a conversation. I wish I remembered more of my university Spanish, but she includes a Spanish-English dictionary at the back. My Beloved World is a nice change of pace in my reading diet, and I learned a lot of good stuff, too. ( )
  edlynskey | Jan 11, 2014 |
I very much enjoyed this lively autobiography of perhaps the nation's most unlikely Supreme Court Justice. She grew up poor in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in the Bronx, surrounded by adults who were loving but so consumed by their own struggles that at 7 years old, when she was diagnosed with diabetes, Sonia realized she must learn to give herself insulin shots if she hoped to survive. She had never met or heard of a lawyer, and discovered the law by watching the "Perry Mason" TV show. The book follows her life from childhood, through the alien world of the Ivy League and throughout her career until she is appointed to the Supreme Court. Thanks to Susan Messina, who recommended this book.
  Lynnkc | Dec 7, 2013 |
I highly recommend this book, even though I think it’s good that Sotomayar is a Supreme Court Justice, rather than a writer. Her prose is serviceable, but seldom lyrical. Also, she is somewhat circumspect in wrting this book, and some topics (for example her marriage and divorce) are told in 2-D, rather than in full living color.

However, her story is interesting and pulled me right along. Sonia Sotomayar grew up in the South Bronx; Spanish was her first language; her father was an alcoholic who died when she was young; she developed juvenile diabetes at a time when that was considered a death sentence. She also had support from a loving extended family and an amazing amount of grit. She is a poster child for affirmative action, having gone to Princeton and the Yale Law School.

I often find Sotomayar irritating politically, but this book gave me admiration for her integrity and spunk. I also liked the way she identified the strengths she received from her family, especially her mother and grandmother, as assets that helped her in her law career. She has a nuanced understanding of her family dynamics. An example from the book, she is reflecting on life after the death of her father:

“A hug from Papi would have been nice just then. I couldn’t deny that our life was so much better now, but I did miss him. For all the misery he caused, I knew with certainty that he loved us. Those aren’t things you can measure or weigh. You can’t say: This much love is worth this much misery. They’re not opposites that cancel each other out; they’re both true at the same time. “ ( )
  banjo123 | Sep 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (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
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(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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:54 -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 ... book"--… (more)

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