My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

My Beloved World is the story of the third woman – and first Hispanic – to serve on the Supreme Court.my beloved world

In the beginning of her memoir, Sonia Sotomayor was eight years old, recently diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.  Although her mother was a practical nurse, neither of Sonia’s parents could bear to hurt their child by giving her insulin injections – so the little girl learned to give herself the shots.

Her determination and self-reliance helped her to overcome her disadvantages.  Her parents were Puerto Rican immigrants, living in public housing and speaking only Spanish in the home.  This language barrier caused Sonia to struggle during her early years of school.  Her father was an alcoholic, and her parents often screamed at – or avoided – each other, although Sonia’s loving extended family provided her with emotional support.

When Sonia completed the eighth grade, a teacher wrote, “This girl’s ambitions, odd as they may seem, are to become an attorney and someday marry.”  If Sonia’s dream of being a lawyer seemed strange, her thoughts of perhaps becoming a judge seemed a complete fantasy!

As a high school student, Sonia had never heard of the Ivy League, but affirmative action placed Princeton and Yale Law School within her reach.  She began her legal career as a prosecutor in the D.A.’s office in New York City, eventually moving to private practice and then becoming a judge before she was forty.

Her stories about her personal life include her marriage to her high school sweetheart and her relationships with many family members and friends.

This Supreme Court judge writes candidly and informally, not hesitating to laugh at her own weaknesses.  She understands, too, that the writing style suitable to a memoir is quite different from that appropriate for a legal brief!

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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