- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034580483X
- ISBN-13: 978-0345804839
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,301 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Beloved World Paperback – January 7, 2014
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“A compelling and powerfully written memoir about identity and coming of age. . . . 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. . . . This account of her life is revealing, keenly observed and deeply felt. . . . This insightful memoir underscores just how well Justice Sotomayor mastered the art of narrative. It’s an eloquent and affecting testament to the triumph of brains and hard work over circumstance, of a childhood dream realized through extraordinary will and dedication.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“The book delivers on its promise of intimacy in its depictions of Sotomayor’s family, the corner of Puerto Rican immigrant New York where she was raised and the link she feels to the island where she spent childhood summers. . . . This is a woman who knows where she comes from and has the force to bring you there. Sotomayor does this by being cleareyed about the flaws of the adults who raised her—she lets them be complicated. . . . ‘I’ve spent my whole life learning how to do things that were hard for me,’ Sotomayor tells an acquaintance when he asks whether becoming a judge will be difficult for her. Yes, she has. And by the time you close My Beloved World, you understand how she has mastered judging, too.”
—Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Book Review
“With buoyant humor and thoughtful candor, she recounts her rise from a crime-infested neighborhood in the South Bronx to the nation’s highest court. ‘I will be judged as a human being by what readers find here,’ Sotomayor writes. We, the jury in this case, find her irresistible.”
—John Wilwol, Washingtonian
“Sotomayor turns out to be a writer of depth and literary flair. . . . My Beloved World is steeped in vivid memories of New York City, and it is an exceptionally frank account of the challenges that she faced during her ascent from a public housing project to the court’s marble palace on First Street.”
—Adam Liptak, The New York Times
“You’ll see in Sotomayor a surprising wealth of candor, wit, and affection. No topic is off limits, not her diabetes, her father’s death, her divorce, or her cousin’s death from AIDS. Put the kettle on, reader, it’s time for some real talk with Titi Sonia. . . . The author shines in her passages on childhood, family, and self-discovery. Her magical portraits of loved ones bring to mind Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street; both authors bring a sense of childlike wonder and empathy to a world rarely seen in books, a Latin-American and womancentric world.”
—Grace Bello, Christian Science Monitor
“This is a page-turner, beautifully written and novelistic in its tale of family, love and triumph. It hums with hope and exhilaration. This is a story of human triumph.”
—Nina Totenberg, NPR
“Big-hearted. . . . A powerful defense of empathy. . . . She has spent her life imagining her way into the hearts of everyone around her. . . . Anyone wondering how a child raised in public housing, without speaking English, by an alcoholic father and a largely absent mother could become the first Latina on the Supreme Court will find the answer in these pages. It didn’t take just a village: It took a country.”
—Dahlia Lithwick, The Washington Post
“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.”
—Carla Main, Wall Street Journal
“Remarkable. . . . A portrait of a genuinely interesting person.”
—Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast
“In a refreshing conversational style, Sotomayor tells her fascinating life story with the hope of providing ‘comfort, perhaps even inspiration’ to others, particularly children, who face hard times. ‘People who live in difficult circumstances,’ Sotomayor writes in her preface, ‘need to know that happy endings are possible.’”
—Jay Wexler, Boston Globe
“Classic Sotomayor: intelligent, gregarious and at times disarmingly personal. . . . A portrait of an underprivileged but brilliant young woman who makes her way into the American elite and does her best to reform it from the inside. . . . I certainly hope My Beloved World inspires readers to chase their dreams.”
—Jason Farago, NPR
“Vital, loving, and incisive. . . . In this revealing memoir, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor candidly and gracefully recounts her formative years. Her memoir shows both her continued self-reliance and her passion for community.”
—Library Journal (Starred review)
“Justice Sotomayor recounts numerous obstacles and remarkable achievements in this personal and inspiring autobiography. . . . Readers across the board will be moved by this intimate look at the life of a justice.”
“Amazingly candid . . . an intimate and honest look at her extraordinary life and the support and blessings that propelled her forward.”
—Booklist (Starred review)
“Graceful, authoritative memoir. . . . Mature, life-affirming musings from a venerable life shaped by tenacity and pride.”
About the Author
Sonia Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976 and from Yale Law School in 1979. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York and then at the law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. From 1992 to 1998, she served as a judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and from 1998 to 2009 on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; she assumed this role on August 8, 2009.
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Justice Sotomayor is the culmination of the perfect storm: A lovely summer storm that clears out the stink and gives hope that the sun may shine in the morning.
In January, I heard an interview with Justice Sotomayor on NPR where she discussed her love of reading and how, as a child, books saved her during some dark times. Then they said she had published a memoir and, ten minutes later, I had downloaded it for my Kindle.
I'm always a little wary of memoirs. Just because someone has a moving story does not mean they can write. And just because someone can write doesn't mean they have a story to tell. Luckily, Sotomayor has a compelling story and is able to tell it with an authentic voice.
Sotomayor's early years, with her "Big, Fat, Puerto Rican Family" read like a novel. From her relationship with her grandmother, to her father's death, to her mother's retreat, Sotomayor's early life can compete with any epic novel. I almost--almost--forgot that this woman would be appointed to the highest court in the land and, instead, wondered if she'd make it through high school.
But she did and, once she headed off to Princeton, the story takes a turn. We can see how each decision Sotomayor made took her one step closer to her goals. Her life was not easy and it is obvious that, while some opportunities were within her reach thanks to affirmative action, it was her own hard work, determination and pure pluck that got her to where she is.
Before I read My Beloved World, I admired Sonia Sotomayor. Now, I consider her one of my personal heroes.