Read My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor Online


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 powerThe 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....

Title : My Beloved World
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780307594884
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 302 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

My Beloved World Reviews

  • Matt
    2019-03-28 21:19

    As the biography journey begins its final days, I returned to yet another female Justice of the US Supreme Court. I sought not only to learn about a strong woman, but also one who will lay out a strong memoir to shape her rise to judicial prominence. While some will remember my reviews of pieces by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg during this biography binge, they proved highly informative, but lacked a true chronological build-up and left me wanting more. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has written a strong historical piece that does what I have been seeking all along, tapping into her youth and the hurdles she faced growing up, both proving to be highly useful for the reader to better understand the woman who currently sits on the Court. With a strong pre-judicial focus, the biography presents her arguments in a clear fashion that the curious reader may find useful to better understand Sonia Sotomayor as a woman and a legal heavyweight alike.Born in the South Bronx, Sotomayor opens by tackling two major struggles she faced as a young girl, a diagnosis of Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes and a less that calm home life. Her close-knit family showered her with love, even when money was scarce, but an alcoholic father added strain to an already troublesome home. Her Catholic school upbringing brought the fear of God and the nuns into the early narrative, peppered with Sotomayor's passion to learn, an obvious escape from the fighting at home. It was only when she reached high school that Sotomayor found her niche through a teacher that took an academic interest in her. This scholastic passion grew as Sotomayor gained admission into Princeton and eventually Yale Law School, where she continued to excel. These were the early 1970s and affirmative action was being bandied around Admission Offices across universities. Sotomayor addresses this, but makes a strong argument that her grades propelled her, even if certain doors may have been left open a crack. Of particular interest, Sotomayor seems never too have forgotten her roots, even during her Ivy League education. Her continued success baffled her at times, though she never forgot from whence she came, reminding the reader of her extended family and treks back to the Bronx whenever she could. Sotomayor also talks about a Hispanic Civil Rights Movement and how universities were a hotbed to begin cultivating new and exciting opportunities to foster respect for her cultural roots, first within academic circles and then at a government level. After graduation, Sotomayor began a new round of struggles and adventures as she had to make a career out of her extensive education. She turned to life as a trial lawyer, where she was able to prosecute criminals of all types, but also had epiphanies about the disparities of the legal system as a whole. Sotomayor used this as another building block in her creation of a legal and judicial foundation, striving to bring balance to a jaded and money-fuelled system. Tackling many cases, Sotomayor had a larger goal, to reach the bench and chose to enrich her life in private practice, where she might be able to hone some of her strong civil law skills. Many saw great possibilities for Sotomayor, pushing her towards applying for consideration of the Senate's Judiciary Committee for a Federal District Court post. In the waning chapters, Sotomayor offers the reader some of the process involved therein and quickly ties up her narrative soon after her appointment. A strong first piece in a well-grounded memoir, Sotomayor is sure to garner much interest by any who take the time to read what she has to offer.Sotomayor provides a strong foundation for the reader in this memoir, by pulling on her upbringing, education, and personal struggles. The narrative is not only clear and concise, but flavoured with the power of hindsight and recollection, synthesising events and ideas that might have been lost at the time of their emergence. Presenting herself humbly, Sotomayor allows the reader to judge for themselves as to what they think about this most accomplished woman. While I would have liked a section dedicated to her ongoing judicial work, Sotomayor admits in the forward that this would not be included. One can speculate that she wanted to remain impartial while sitting on the bench, but leaving the reader to wonder what might be in store in the second half of this telling memoir. Honest and told from the heart without turning into a tell-all, Sotomayor invites the reader into some of her most personal struggles, while staying true to all those who have helped her along the way. Truly a woman of much power who has seen much in her life, Sonia Sotomayor is a role model for many who know the power of determination.Kudos, Justice Sotomayor for sharing so much about yourself. I came into this with such little knowledge about you and the life you led, but leave with much respect and a list of questions.Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Hadrian
    2019-03-21 17:14

    It is a rare event for any political memoir to exhibit anything like true honesty, feeling, and candor. This book was a pleasure to read. I'd even pass it along to my mother.Justice Sotomayor's legal opinions and courtroom style are a tough, 'just-the-facts' approach, and it is easy enough to see the roots of this toughness in her own upbringing. South Bronx, juvenile diabetes, Catholic education, father died young. Yet instead of becoming wholly cynical from this or her later trials, this feeling of personal drive and self-reliance continues to the present day. Perhaps another sign of the book's quality is that it is not too political (with the exception of a whole-hearted defense of affirmative action, but this is entirely understandable). Instead, it is more empathetic and personal, offering courtroom banter and the stories of friends and family as a more background look at her view of life. Empathy is a quality which is only too rare in the higher echelons of power and law these days. In "su mundo adorado", perhaps those who have been at the very darkest valley can be fit to judge at the top of the highest mountain.

  • Deb
    2019-03-25 18:30

    I picked this up because I had heard Justice Sotomayor on NPR and found her so charming and so brilliant that I was curious about her biography. The woman knows how to tell a story! I was captured on the first page. From the moment when she teaches herself how to administer her own insulin shots at the age of 7, she reveals herself to be brave, determined and strong. Sonia's father was an alcoholic and her mother, while devoted to her children, was overburdened and overworked. As a young girl, Sonia escaped her tumultuous household by spending time with her paternal grandmother, who dispensed wise advise and provided peace. Called Aji - hot pepper - by her parents, Sonia's rise to valedictorian of her high school, honors at Princeton and then Yale Law really is inspiring. While the stories from her years in the New York County District Attorney office are fascinating, I'm sorry the story ends just as she is appointed to the Federal District Court. I hope there is another book in her future.

  • Diane
    2019-03-21 21:36

    Wonderful and an inspiring memoir! enjoyable,someone with a great personality...recommend (paperback!)

  • Ann
    2019-04-04 17:11

    By far the best political memoir I've read since Condoleezza Rice's Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family. It doesn't diminish these political women's careers that they write so intimately about their families or refuse to mythologize their minority rags-to-riches stories.Sotomayor is immediately likable and increasingly admirable in this genuine working class hero's tale. It's about time women of accomplishment wrote classics about self-invention in the American landscape. From an eight-year old diagnosed with juvenile diabetes who had to teach herself about non-disposable syringes and daily injections of insulin, to the "wise Latina" valedictorian at Princeton and effective Supreme Court justice, Sotomayor retains a wonderful scrappiness. Highly recommended!

  • Chrissie
    2019-03-25 22:08

    I admire Sonia Sotomayor, born in 1954 of Puerto Rican lineage, she grew up in the Bronx. She shared the poverty and squalor off many of her Hispanic compatriots. Today she is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Judge. She studied at Princeton, followed by graduate studies at Yale. Valedictorian of her high school class, she graduated summa cum laude at Princeton. This is a rag to riches story - except that she has never sought financial gain and has instead chosen to work for the good of the Hispanic Community and other minority groups rather than earning huge salaries at private law firms. To top it all off she has had type one diabetes since 1962, the very same year it was discovered I too have diabetes. I went to Brown, she to Princeton. So, we shared quite a bit, but in some ways we followed very different paths and are very different people. Of course the book spoke to me. But why did the author write this book? Clearly the point of the book is to inspire others from minority groups who feel that success is not possible. Her story proves the opposite. Determination and willpower - that is what is needed! The book concludes prior to her becoming a federal judge, so do not look to this book to better understand her Supreme Court decisions. The book shows her interest in helping those who have less. Financial gain is never her goal, and I admire this tremendously. Most often legal terms are sufficiently explained making the book easy to read for a lay person. Do you sense my lack of enthusiasm for the book? I didn't love the book even if I have difficulty pinpointing what it lacks. Sonia is methodical and also the book is methodical. It covers family relationships - she has a large, but also close Hispanic family. It covers her career choices and explanations are given for why she made the choices she did. It covers her diabetes too. The problem for me was that she isn't a person comfortable about "revealing her soul". She states that she has difficulty “sharing” personal thoughts, and this shows. She holds back. She does give an honest, albeit "cleaned up" version. I felt often there is / must be more here, something is not being said. She is not one to want pity, so she guards personal emotions. What she says about diabetes.....well, either her diabetes is easy to control or something is missing. I similarly reacted to the emotional tumult one feels as a freshman at an Ivy League College. Again something was missing. Spanish is often not translated and that was difficult for me. There are not large untranslated sections, but I want to understand everything!The audiobook narration by Rita Moreno was spot-on! I kept thinking this IS the author herself speaking!I felt the author wanted this book to be an inspiration rather than a revelation of who she was.

  • Carol
    2019-04-05 18:23

    The Hook - Fourth Tuesday Book GroupThe Line – ”I wouldn’t get to see California until my second summer at law school. I remember driving the freeways with palm trees in view and thinking of Gilmar, among other friends I’ve lost touch with who may never know what memories they’ve left behind in my keeping.” Sonia SotomayorThe Sinker – One thing I love about our library’s non-fiction group is that it encourages me to read books I would never pick up on my own. There are times when I am reluctant to read their choice but in the spirit of participation I do. My initial thoughts regarding My Beloved World were that it would be “Boring!” Nothing could have been farther from the truth nor as good as this turned out to be. The group knows best.Who knows what I was expecting? What I got was a memoir that read like a conversation with an old friend over a cup of tea. Sonia Sotomayor seems a sincere, caring, humble, intelligent woman, as you’d ever want to meet. She explains right from the beginning that she chose memoir vs. biography so she could capture her own reality of events in her life, her memories, not how others might have perceived them. She covers her early years up to her confirmation as District Court for the Southern District of New York, becoming the first Hispanic Federal Judge to serve in that role. ”I have ventured to write more intimately about my personal life than is customary for a member of the Supreme Court, and with that candor comes a measure of vulnerability.”She explains that the impetus for her memoir came from a question she was asked:”How much did I owe to having had a happy childhood?”This was difficult to answer as she really never saw her childhood in that light, yet could understand how anyone seeing her today surrounded by her loving family would think this. It took her many years, many conversations, many accomplishments to get to this place. This is not to say that there were not happy memories mixed in with the darker experiences. You immediately get a sense of the strength of Ms. Sotomayor, even as young as seven. It is at this time that she is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. The very first day she is home she awakes to hearing her parents arguing about who will administer her insulin. The fighting between them is nothing new but this time it is about her, something she cannot bear. She is determined to inject herself after learning to sterilize her own needles. One less thing to cause strife in her home. Ms. Sotomayor shares so much with us, her readers. She takes us on a journey of her neighborhoods, her family, including her beloved Mami, Papi, Abuelita and brother Junior, grade school, her struggles, the love and losses, the challenges, and triumphs. Everything did not come easily but she acknowledges that she had some breaks that she was able to use to her own best interests. She speaks to the issue of affirmative action and feels without it she might not have attended such a prestigious college as Princeton. It was one thing to be admitted to Princeton but this did not allow her to rest on her laurels. She worked hard for all her achievements. One question raised at our group seems quite obvious and yet was not one I considered. Would Sonia Sotomayor be where she today if she had not graduated from Princeton or Yale? The men in our group were adamant that she would not. The women were more confident that Ms. Sotomayor had the persistence to go where she would. Sonia Sotomayor is a woman to admire. Her memoir is a must for anyone who counts books with strong women at its core as an addition to their reading list. “But experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire. That will, wherever it finally leads, does at least move you forward. And after a time you may recognize that the proper measure of success is not how much you've closed the distance to some far-off goal but the quality of what you've done today.”― Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved WorldAddendum - something I forgot to mention but want this to be part of my comments>It is my belief that Sonia Sotomayor made an effort to understand her own perception of her childhood by taking the risk of having honest conversations with her mother, Celina. The mother/daughter relationship seems one of the most complicated. By allowing herself to hear stories of her mother's life she was able to see her mother in new light. I feel this only made Sotomayor a stronger woman; one who could move forward with healing, love and understanding.

  • Connie
    2019-04-01 16:31

    Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic appointed to the United States Supreme Court, has written a candid memoir about her life leading up to that appointment in 2009. Her young life began in a Bronx housing project with an alcoholic father who died young, and a mother who worked long hours as a nurse. Sotomayer had a warm extended family who gathered at her paternal grandmother's home. She was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 7, and learned to give herself the insulin shots. She was self-reliant, even at that early age, because she could not depend on anyone else being available to help her manage her diabetes.School was challenging since she came from a home where Spanish was spoken, but she was intellectually curious and a hard worker. Trips with her family to Puerto Rico developed a strong attachment in Sotomayer to the island and its people. She tells about her work in volunteer organizations helping other Hispanics while a student at Princeton and Yale Law School. She appreciated the help of an important group of mentors along the way to becoming a lawyer, and eventually a judge. She worked fifteen hour days in a New York County District Attorney's office, private practice, and as a judge. But she always cultivated a large group of friends that acted much like family, people who were especially important to her after her divorce.This entertaining memoir is upbeat, humorous, and compassionate. It's filled with local color, especially in the chapters about her Hispanic heritage. Sotomayer is an inspiration to others that dreams can come true.

  • Catherine
    2019-04-16 17:09

    This was a great book. Sonia Sotomayor is a fascinating woman and I enjoyed reading about her life. There are several things that stood out for me. First and foremost is that she always found the smartest person she could and asked for help. How many women (and men) are too competetive, too shy, or too intimidated to do that? Second, she isn't acquisitive (i.e., she doesn't have a lot of stuff). And because of that she never seemed to be that interested in making a lot of money, therefore she took jobs where she could learn and make a difference rather than make a big salary. Third, she got involved. Throughout her life she has always tried to make things better for individuals and communities, not just sitting around complaining that the government should do something. And fourth, she's a lady. Not once in the entire book did she dish dirt on anyone, she never indulged in self-pity, and she ALWAYS credited the people in her life (personally and professionally) for all their help and support. I admire that. No, I do not think she's a saint, but I am glad we have her on the Supreme Court. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-14 18:34

    I really liked this biography, not because it tells us how to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice but rather, what it is like to start out poor in the South Bronx, speaking only Spanish, and make the transition to the power elite. Sotomayor descibes the journey from the lowest socio-economic class to the upper echelons of academia and the law; not that she always knew where she was heading. We talk about America as the land of opportunity, but so many of us are unaware that the opportunity exists and what questions to ask to find it. She ponders what made the difference with humility and humor.

  • Sue
    2019-03-27 15:30

    I had the good fortune to hear Sonia Sotomayor speak last week, and within hours I had downloaded her book. A warm and articulate speaker, she made me want to know where she came from. She is a remarkable woman, focused and driven from an early age.As a sitting justice, she must steer clear of comments that can be construed as bearing on any case she may have to consider. This memoir is simply a reflection on her early life, influences, and experiences. It begins when she was soon to turn eight years old (learning she has diabetes) and ends about 30 years later with her first appointment to a federal court.Her personal journey has been one in which she has sought to retain and embrace her Nuyorican community at the same time that she has learned to traverse a widening landscape of people and institutions. She would surely tell any of us that this is life’s purpose: to honor one’s roots and to move with sympathy and intelligence among those whose roots are different.I am struck by her devotion to the law. She was a tough-as-nails prosecutor and an effective partner in a New York firm. But her eye was always on the federal bench as the place where one would best deal with the full scope of the law. Even while a student in the turbulent early 70s, she never wanted to demonstrate or practice civil disobedience. Her route was always discourse, the approach of rational argument.There is no mistaking that she was an exceptional child, independent and curious from the beginning. She had a father whose alcohol-related death impacted the whole family, but she also had a warm grandmother, a savvy and determined mother, and a coterie of loving cousins. Her drive to succeed never waivered, and it may have put a nail into her young marriage, which took a back seat to the burgeoning law career.She is candid about the doors that opened because of affirmative action, whether stated as a policy or not. Such a policy was surely at work when she was admitted to Princeton, and she may have been slightly behind her classmates upon entry, but she graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the top university prize for a senior. This was a life pattern; if she could not do something, she found out what she was doing wrong. She had the highest standards for herself – and others. I’m told that attorneys who appeared before her bench could quake in their boots if inadequately prepared.Let’s just say I am in awe of this story. Sotomayor is not primarily a writer, and I think she did too much explanation and interpretation when the story itself was enough. The book bogged a bit at these moments. The takeaway: she is a powerful personality, a profound inspiration, someone to cherish as a special American.

  • Laura
    2019-04-13 17:11

    edited to add -- Justice Sotomayor came to Seattle Town Hall tonight to two standing ovations. I jotted down a few things she said (or approximately said) tonight: “Failure is such a wonderful teacher . . . I feel the same way about trauma.” “It shocks me when I hear people say ‘I did it alone.’ No one does it alone.” “I have spent my entire life not being afraid of admitting that I don’t know.. . . there is no shame in not knowing something. There should be shame in not asking.” “I am very very competitive. The point when I know I’ve gone too far is when I start completing with someone else.” “I get letters from all over the world telling me how their life is similar to mine.”“Affirmative Action was a way of letting minority kids know that there is a race they have to run.” “Laws don’t spring up sua sponte. Someone planted that seed. . . someone cared. To the extent you don’t like it, it’s your job to rip the weed out.” “Unfortunately, we have a system where we fund schools very differently, so some kids have more of an adventure than others. . . . If I had a magic wand, I’d give every child the same great education.” [I got that quote wrong because I got distracted by the second standing ovation, but the sentiment is correct.]--- original review -- There are parts of this Supreme Court Justice’s story I identify with. Finding mythology at a young age; being bereft of cultural knowledge shared by those around us; being the recipient of childhood kindness and childhood cruelty – right there with her. There are other parts this Supreme Court Justice’s story that are simply out of my world. Her large, tightly knit family; her childhood poverty; her membership in an insular and discrete minority; her delight in driving one of the original Ferrari Testarossas – for better or for worst, not my world. This book chronicles her life from childhood to taking the bench. It is an epic, warming story, and it makes me like our president better that he nominated her. Justice Sotomayor frankly acknowledges that she got where she is no small part through affirmative action; that doors that would have been closed to her were opened. And that’s a very good thing. The older I get, the more respect I have for LBJ. It begins as a very emotionally intimate tale. The intimacy fades as the story goes on, though there are flashes right until the end. She does not overtly hint at her governing legal theories, but there are flashes of that too. I am not surprised she regularly votes differently from Justice Thomas. This is what a Supreme Court Justice looks like. A little like me, a little not. It's a good thing.

  • Margaret
    2019-04-02 22:13

    This tightly controlled and endlessly fascinating memoir reveals how Sonia Sotomayor wants us to see her world. She is caught between the desire to show us all where she came from and how she developed into the person who has earned a position as a Supreme Court justice. And it is clear that no one just accidentally ends up becoming a Supreme Court justice. At the same time readers just can’t help admiring the eight year-old girl who learns to take control of her own life and destiny by learning to inject herself with the insulin treatment she needs to control her childhood diabetes. She realizes she cannot rely on others to take care of her, even her own loving but flawed parents are not fully trustworthy. But she is ever willing to include those others in her life even as she is fully alone as she chooses her path She is an intellectually gifted child whose family is proud of her great achievements and supports her, even as they do not understand the world she seeks to join. Yet they take what steps they can, moving to a better neighborhood and assisting her as she chooses her next step. She attends Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, not exactly a feeder school for the ivies but the best of what is in the neighborhood. She moves from there to Princeton University, a world well beyond what her childhood friends know. And she moves to the top of her class at Princeton and gains admission to Yale Law School, arguably the best in the country. She is fully aware of how far she has moved from the loving embrace of her old neighborhood, yet she makes right choice after right choice. The way she tells it, she may not have always known she would end up on the Supreme Court, yet every step she took prepared her through knowledge, experiences, and connections to be ready for the appointment when it came. It is always interesting to read the stories (and Sotomayor is very conscious as a writer to make sure she shapes her memoir as an exciting story) of those of us who travel far from their humble roots into the upper reaches of power and intellect. Sotomayor’s story is particularly interesting as she remains in love with her “beloved world” as she travels so far beyond it. And she is determined to keep her attachment even as she adds many others. Each step she takes is both considered and planned for, even as she is sometimes amazed at where she has managed to take herself. An appealing story by someone who simultaneously maintains her distance and hugs us close.

  • Melody
    2019-03-30 15:35

    I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't the most fabulous memoir I've ever read, and there were some parts that felt a bit fragmented (especially toward the end, I felt like there was a section that was 'hey here were some other facts/stories I wanted to include but didn't know where to put them'), but I actually really liked it. I both encountered some experiences that were very unfamiliar to me and encountered some ways of living, feeling, and thinking about life that I really identified with. Her brief discussion about having children (or not) as a working woman was especially interesting to me (on and around pg. 234), as was her discussion about (what others have called) imposter syndrome at various points in the book. For example, I really liked and identified with this quote (pg. 296) "My first month as a judge I was terrified, in keeping with the usual pattern of self-doubt and compensatory effort that has always attended any major transition in my life." All in all, it was an inspiring look at an inspiring person. (Also, sounds like she and her then-husband lived in Butler ("graduate student housing that had been built during and after WWII to shelter the families of returning soldiers") at Princeton (pg. 198)... I wonder if I ever visited their place. :))

  • Catina Martinez
    2019-04-13 22:35

    I LOVED this book. As a Latina, I was certainly proud to have Sotomayor as a member of the Supreme Court, but admittedly knew nothing about her as a person or her life. She has a wonderful story, and is so very human in describing her struggles, her triumphs and insecurities. There were many times in reading her story that i wished I could sit down with her and a cup of coffee, and hear her tell her story in person. Sotomayor's honesty and sincerity have turned me into an ardent admirer.

  • Liz
    2019-03-25 23:30

    This book just never caught fire for me. Way too much time spent on her childhood and catholic school upbringing. There were some interesting philosophical discussions, such as the value of Affirmative Action, but not enough to keep my interest. I think the problem is that the writing was very dry and lacked any sense of warmth.

  • Margaret
    2019-04-16 23:06

    The first half of the books is a wonderful and frank portrait of a large, complicated Puerto Rican family living in a very tough neighborhood in the Bronx in the 60s. You can smell the food and hear the music. The description of the years at Princeton and Yale are a very thoughtful and unapologetic defense of 'affirmative action' as policy and on the challenges and opportunities it offered the author. I found the decription of her life as a DA and corporate lawyer less interesting. She is a good writer and can quickly draw strikingly funny or poignant scenes. I ended up admiring SS greatly - she shows you both the promise and the price of 'living the American dream' without sentimentality or bitterness. I also like the fact that the effect of the book is to make those who opposed her nomination to the Supreme Court look like the first class idiots they are.

  • Erica
    2019-03-31 21:18

    I'm going to straight-up tell you that if the Mary Sue persona, whether fictional or not, is an anathema to your reading sensibilities, there's a good chance you will not enjoy Sotomayor's memoir on becoming a Federal judge.However, if you enjoying finding out how people, especially those who start out at a fairly severe disadvantage (poor, Puerto Rican, female), wind up on the Judicial bench, then you'll like this tale.This isn't too different from A Fighting Chance in that neither woman was born into politics nor expected to wind up serving as part of the Federal Government. They are similar in their humility, the flow of both books being something along the lines of "I wanted to do this thing so I tried and I didn't think it would work but it did! Can you believe it? And it's all thanks to the help of so many supportive, amazing people." Warren started out in a working class white family in Oklahoma. Sotomayor started out in a poor Puerto Rican family in New York City. Thanks to her mother, she did have the benefit of a Catholic education which is to say a stable environment that focused on traditional teaching tools, though it was her love of courtroom dramas, such as "Perry Mason", rather than the structure and learning environment provided at the hands of nuns that led her to the jurisprudence path.While Sotomayor doesn't come across as playful or humorous, text that could otherwise seem dry without those aids is conversational and honest. I like that she seems sincere and thoughtful, like a genuinely good person. Of course, who skews their memoirs to make themselves look like jerks but I never felt she was bragging about her successes, her determination, or the opportunities she grabbed and that she was rarely smug and then only when deserved. I felt so proud of her when she was accepted to Princeton and again each time her abilities and skills were acknowledged by those who knew how best to steer her toward her dreams. I was thrilled when she took those opportunities and ran with them instead of second-guessing, hesitating, settling. Hers is the old-fashioned, 100% American story of working your hardest and being your best, thereby achieving your goal, no matter how out-of-reach it may seem.Sotomayor reads the introduction for this audiobook but Rita Moreno is the narrator, whom, as an unrelated aside, I've always found to be the coolest person ever...probably because she was the one who yelled "Hey, you guuuuuys!" for "The Electric Company" and was a regular on "Sesame Street."

  • Thomas
    2019-04-14 17:15

    Sonia Sotomayor's new memoir, MY BELOVED WORLD, is absolutely fabulous, just outstanding. I started it late Saturday afternoon (26 Jan 2013) and finished it this morning, scarcely 36 hours later. It is heartwarming, gritty, tender, inspiring, authentic, eloquent--a celebration of family, work, and love in a world of despair, drugs, and disappointment. From an impoverished childhood in the South Bronx, she wrangled her way to a full scholarship at Princeton, from which she graduated at the top of her class, and then to Yale Law School, where she won a prestigious spot on the law review. But as a diabetic woman of Puerto Rican heritage, she couldn't get a judicial clerkship or even a job at a law firm, and she eventually became a tough assistant district attorney in Manhattan. Always a quick study, Sotomayor soon learned the alchemy of criminal prosecution: you must appeal to juries through their eyes, emotionally as well as rationally. From that point on, she never again lost a case. Today she is the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. I cannot recommend this book enthusiastically enough. Do, do, do read it. (P.S. I just learned it will break onto The New York Times Bestseller List next Sunday (3 Feb 2013) as No. 1, and that doesn't surprise me in the least.)

  • Virginia Birks
    2019-04-05 21:27

    What a great read. So inspiring. She offers much practical advice for everyday living. The country is fortunate to have her on the Supreme Court.

  • Martin
    2019-04-07 17:24

    I don't generally read politician memoirs because I find them generally self-serving, like they are generating good will prior to a run for higher office. Of course, Sotomayor is not a politician and has already accomplished the highest position to which a lawyer can aspire. I believe she wrote this not to make herself better known to the public, which would not serve any positive purpose for a Supreme Court Justice, but for the very noble intention to inspire others. I had not paid attention to her since her confirmation hearings until she started doing press for this book. On "The View", Whoopi Goldberg told Sotomayor that she considered her a surprisingly approachable Supreme Court Justice, nicknaming her "Sonia from the block." Sotomayor, to her credit, told the ladies of "The View" that she was nervous being interviewed by them; usually she is the one asking the questions. Her openness, honesty and humility are ever present in this autobiography. She internalized a frequent saying of her mother's, "They did the best they could," and saw the world through this forgiving, compassionate view. Only once does she appear to get truly angry, and it is due to a prospective employer making short-sighted comments about affirmative action. In her early life, she was both a self-starter and also benefited from her parents' encouragement. As she grows up, more and more people believe in her and are able to guide her to achieve goals she had never seriously considered. By the time she is prodded into applying for a federal judgeship, she has a whole cadre of mentors and colleagues pushing her forward. This book is for immigrants or children of immigrants, for people raised by single parents, for anyone who came from any disadvantaged situation. The are two great kinds of American stories: those of immigrants becoming American, and those of self-determination and achievement which also benefits the greater good. This autobiography is both of those things.

  • Sheri
    2019-04-11 22:07

    Most books take me some place outside my own life, but occasionally I'll read one that seems to spark only personal reactions. Sotomayor's memoir falls in that latter category. I had two main reactions to this book: (1) how much her professional education & legal experiences mirrored my own; and (2) how happy and positive a person she is, especially as compared to Justice Clarence Thomas. It was hard not to think about Thomas while reading about Sotomayor. Both are members of minority groups who experienced difficult childhoods & inadequate parenting. Both enjoyed the benefits of affirmative action, including both of them being admitted to Yale Law School. Both ended up successes in their professional careers, ultimately getting appointed & confirmed to the Supreme Court after serving on the lower federal bench. But boy did they end up with different mindsets about their experiences. Thomas is dour & negative, totally down on affirmative action that he personally benefited from. Sotomayor is upbeat and positive, sees the bright side of practically everything, and is grateful that affirmative action gave her a chance to overcome the inadequacies of her education up to & through high school, and thereby prove her real abilities. Interesting book. Last thoughts: I think Sotomayor is a great addition to the Supreme Court, but am concerned about her longevity. I knew about her diabetes before reading the book, but upon reading that she was a 3 1/2 pack a day smoker for 30 years, am worried that she's got a lot of health issues that could shorten her life & productivity as a Justice.

  • Jess
    2019-04-02 22:21

    Rita Moreno did a good job with this narration, but the standout part of it is the story. Sotomayor did a beautiful job of writing about her life and positive outlook while still acknowledging the difficulties she has faced in getting to where she is now. I did go find a physical copy so I could see all of the photos, but otherwise the audio version was very good.

  • Emily Bazelon
    2019-04-15 15:11

    Here's my NYT review of this one, which I do recommend if you're interested in how Sotomayor reached the Supreme Court.

  • Kressel Housman
    2019-03-21 22:26

    The face of Justice Sonia Sotomayor has been beckoning me from the library shelves for a while now, but what finally prompted me to read her book was Random Family, an in-depth study of the lives of another Latino family in the South Bronx. Nobody in that book even made it out of the middle class, much less to national prominence, so I wanted to know the secret of the Justice’s success. Apparently, she wrote the book to share it – not to boast, of course, but to educate and inspire.For the writing of a Supreme Court Justice, the book is surprisingly open. She doesn’t just tell you about her education and career; she delves into personal issues, like her divorce and her struggle with diabetes. The result is that you end up not just admiring Justice Sotomayor, but liking her as a person, too.So what is the secret of her success? Why didn’t she end up like the women in Random Family? First, unlike them, her family life was more stable. Her mother did not set the poor example of having children with multiple fathers. Also, she was able to turn the disadvantages in her life into advantages, a phenomenon described in David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Her father’s death when she was nine (a specific theme in David and Goliath) forced her into early self-reliance, as did her diabetes. Because she did not consider herself pretty, she didn’t make the mistake of Jessica in Random Family: “Love is the most interesting place to go, and beauty is the ticket.” Believing herself to be lacking the ticket, she concentrated on her schoolwork instead, and that earned her a ticket to Princeton. But perhaps most admirable of all is that of all the lucrative doors Princeton could have opened for her, she chose the pursuit of justice over wealth, never forgetting where she came from and how she might make this world a better place for others. What an awesome woman! May G-d bless her with continued success.

  • Bucket
    2019-03-31 16:30

    This memoir made it very clear not only how impressive and brilliant of a person Sonia Sotomayor is, but how the combination of a hard-working, education-minded temperament and tough but not insurmountable trials and challenges to overcome can help a person achieve incredible success. Sonia had childhood struggles as she grew up in poverty in New York and came to terms with Type I diabetes. But she has the good examples of many of her family members as well as her own somewhat-innate ability to put immense effort into achieving the things she wants by learning everything she can about them. She is also a naturally social person, able to listen to others carefully, build connections quickly and learn from others easily. This combination is pretty potent. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, especially the first two-thirds. Sotomayor has a tendency to capture her life lessons into very short, pithy statements: "But experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true." "I was fifteen years old when I understood how it is that things break down: people can't imagine someone else's point of view." "...a surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence." "For me the most agreeable and effective instruction has come from observing the nuances and complexity of live action, the complete package of knowledge, experience, and judgment that is another human being." "But as for the possibility of 'having it all,' career and family, with no sacrifice to either, that is a myth we would do well to abandon, together with the pernicious notion that a woman who chooses one or the other is somehow deficient." "There are no bystanders in this life."Overall, excellent and inspiring.Themes: memoir, law, poverty, Puerto Rico, education

  • Book Concierge
    2019-04-02 17:12

    Audiobook performed by Rita MorenoThe first Latina Supreme Court Justice chronicles her childhood, youth, training and experience on the road to becoming a federal judge. I found it interesting and I was captivated from the beginning. However some of the statements she made about her naiveté and total lack of exposure to or knowledge of phrases, organizations, or issues, just didn’t seem plausible. For example, I find it hard to believe that a Princeton senior in 1976 – even one coming from the disadvantaged background Sotomayor came from – would not know about Phi Beta Kappa or would not have heard the phrase summa cum laude. (I came from a similar background as Sotomayor, and even though I was NOT at an Ivy League school, I certainly knew these phrases as a college senior in 1972.)I have heard some criticism of the book because she ends the narrative as she ascends the bench, giving relatively little insight into her life or work since her first appointment. But I have no problem with this. The compelling part of the story is how she rose from her humble beginnings, and the ways in which her various experiences prepared her for that final achievement. The hardcover volume includes numerous photographs of Sotomayor’s parents and grandparents, as well as photos of her from childhood to taking her oath as a Supreme Court Justice. Rita Moreno does a wonderful job of narrating the audio version. She has an enthusiasm that is infectious and really brings life to the text.

  • Renee
    2019-03-28 22:18

    Amazing.No, really.I need more stars.I identified with many experiences and views she presented. And I learned a ton about things I didn't identify with -- Puerto Rico, a life in law, diabetes, etc. Such insight and compassion. I'd especially recommend this to Amber, Jane and Nancy. "But experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire. That will, wherever it finally leads, does at least move you forward. And after a time you may recognize that the proper measure of success is not how much you've closed the distance to some far-off goal but the quality of what you've done today.""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." "I was fifteen years old when I understood how it is that things break down: people can't imagine someone else's point of view." "...virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in heaven. To succeed in this world, you have to be known to people." "I was running with joy, an overwhelming joy that arose simply from gratitude for the fact of being alive. Along with the image, memory carried these words from a child's mind through time: I am blessed. In this life I am truly blessed."

  • Diane
    2019-03-31 20:33

    I was stuck at home yesterday waiting for carpet cleaners so ordered this on Kindle as the NYTimes gave it a great review. I finished it yesterday and have to say it is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It reads like a novel with a poignant, funny narrative of Justice Sotomayor's journey. Her Puerto Rican family is a source of love, pride, shame and despair. She honestly portrays the adults in her life including the complex often paradoxical lives they live. Certainly not a misery memoir, but an honest look back at the influences that shaped her drive for formal education. I did not know she was an insulin dependent diabetic since childhood. Her telling of boiling the needles herself so her high conflict parents would have one less thing to argue about is harrowing. Her admission to Princeton as an affirmative action student is thoroughly discussed and she defends the practice. Her rise to the bench from the DA's office then a silk stocking law firm is entertaining. You will feel she is imminently qualified to be on the Supreme Court while having never forgotten the people, places and experiences that brought her there.

  • Kathleen
    2019-04-17 17:17

    Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir follows her life from birth until she is inducted into the District Court in New York. It is the classic Cinderella story of the poor girl who does well. But more than that, it details the difficulties of leaving the world of immigrant poverty and learning how to live in middle class America. Sotomayor details many things that she did not know or understand which middle class children just know from absorbing life around them. One of the fascinating things about her story is how she overcomes her almost innate insecurity in new situations with hard work. Her memoir is much more personal than I expected, as she details her parent’s personal problems, her close relationship with her grandmother, her childhood diabetes, and her early marriage and divorce. In addition she shares the joy her family gives her.This is a book worth reading now, and again later. Well done!BTW: Sotomayor received a $1.175 million advance from Alfred A. Knopf for this book.