Book Review: My Beloved World

SoniaSotomayorAuthor: Sonia Sotomayor

Publisher: Knopf, January 2013/Ramdom House Audio

Format: Audiobook, Read by Rita Moreno

Genre: Memoir

My Rating: A+

Some of us believe that the people who sit in positions of power are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. They are wrong. Sonia Sotomayor’s life proves that there are outstanding exceptions to that old hypothesis. Born into a large Puerto Rican family, Ms. Sotomayor spent all of her growing-up years in the “projects.” In other words, she grew up poor.

Young Sonia learned at the age of eight that she had juvenile diabetes. Both her mother and father were unable to cope with her illness so Sonia learned to give herself injections of insulin and manage all aspects of her disease. This was one of the defining moments in the development of her character. She was, and is, very self-motivated and has done an excellent job of managing her education and career.

Education was a strong motivator in the Sotomayor household, as it often is in poor families. A good education is seen as the best way out of the cycle of poverty. Sonia and her younger brother often spent four to five hours a day doing homework and reading, especially a set of Encyclopedia Britainnica. Sonia’s one other pleasure was watching the TV show Perry Mason. From that show she developed her goal of being an attorney and then a judge.

Sonia applied herself full-force in everything she did. She won a scholarship to Princeton. Once there she felt as if her classmates “were from another planet” and she thought they felt the same way  about her.

In those days (1972) there was the attitude that the students at these prestigious schools via Affirmative Action were somehow handed a gift they didn’t deserve. Ms. Sotomayor felt the negative effict of that attitude. But, her grades and test scores were so high she didn’t feel it was a gift; she felt she earned her place at the school. She went on to graduate Summa cum laude and was admitted to Yale Law School.

Ms. Sotomayor again graduated at the top of her class at Yale. Rather than pursue a job at one of the top law firms, she joined the New York District Attorney’s office. Her goal was to get as much courtroom experience as possible and as soon as possible. She certainly got it. The story of her twelve years at that job was eye-opening and one of the best parts of the book.

Actually, all of Ms. Sotomayor’s life was eye-opening. There is so much more than what I’ve mentioned here. In My Beloved World she is very open about her family, her beloved but alcoholic father, her marriage, and all of the friends and mentors she met along the way. I also liked hearing about her link with Puerto Rico and especially her relationship with her paternal grandmother.

I wanted to read this memoir by Sonia Sotomayor because she is the first hispanic justice to serve on the Supreme Court. In the past I’ve read books by and about the other two women on the court. I got a lot more than I expected by reading My Beloved World. It was pure pleasure getting to know the person of Sonia Sotomayor. She has led a remarkable life – actually an inspirational life. I know she is and will serve as a role model for many young women.

In My Beloved World you’ll learn the story of Ms. Sotomayor’s life up through her appointment to the Federal Court of Appeals. I hope this means there will be another book covering the rest of the story. As you can see from my rating of the book, this is one of my top reads of the year so far. I can confidently recommend it to you.

I read this book via audiobook and Rita Moreno. The actres did a perfect job with just the right performance, accent, and a lot of passion. Whether you read this via paper or audio, do read it. It’s a heartwarming study of a woman who will be making important decisions for years to come.

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3 Responses to Book Review: My Beloved World

  1. Beth F says:

    I’ve been curious about this one. I know only a little bit about Sotomayor’s life, but I can see there is a lot to admire.

  2. MaryR says:

    I heard Justice Sotomayor on The Daily Show and have been wanting to read this book since then. I’m so glad to hear that is as interesting as it sounded and I will definitely look for the audio version. Thanks for the review!

  3. Staci says:

    I would be curious enough to read this one. I do find it fascinating how people make their way in life to achieve great success!

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