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My Beloved World Paperback – January 7, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When Sotomayor joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009, she made history as the first Hispanic on the high court. She’d also achieved the highest dream of a Puerto Rican girl growing up in a Bronx housing project longing to someday become a judge. In this amazingly candid memoir, Sotomayor recalls a tumultuous childhood: alcoholic father, emotionally distant mother, aggravating little brother, and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins, all overseen by her loving, domineering paternal grandmother. When she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at eight years of age, she knew she had to learn to give herself the insulin shots. That determination saw her through Catholic high school, Princeton, and Yale Law School, at each step struggling to reconcile the poverty of her childhood with the privileges she was beginning to enjoy. No rabble-rouser, she nonetheless was active in student groups supporting minorities. At Yale, she learned how to think about jurisprudence, but readers looking for clues to her judicial thinking will be disappointed as she deliberately demurs. She recounts complicated feelings toward her parents and her failed marriage as she advanced to the DA’s office, private practice, the district court, and, triumphantly, the Supreme Court. Sotomayor offers an intimate and honest look at her extraordinary life and the support and blessings that propelled her forward. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A media blitz will attend the release of this already newsworthy memoir by the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chic VINE VOICE on February 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure, I am a lawyer, so I have perhaps an above average interest in Sonia Sotomayor. Prior to reading this book, I did not know much about her, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn more. On the whole, I enjoyed this book. I was not a fan of the writing style. I suppose it was meant to be conversational, but I found it a bit stilted at times and overly formal. I find any reviews that this book is not heavy enough on Justice Sotomayor's legal doctrine laughable. One, it is a memoir. Two, she is clear in her preface that she will not be covering that topic. Three, the books stops when she is appointed to the federal bench in 1992. If you want to know a Supreme Court Justice's doctrine, read through their opinions, concurrences and dissents. Don't look to a memoir that focuses mostly on her coming of age and early years as an attorney.

The book was engaging, and really demonstrates what hard work can accomplish. As she notes, she may not have been qualified when she made it to certain points in her life, but she worked her tail off to show that she was more than deserving, which can be seen by all types of objective achievements. I particularly enjoyed the sections of the book that discussed her work at the DA's office. If I had one major complaint, it would be that she was a tad bit too self-congratulatory. That could be my own stereotypes speaking, however! I have to push myself to decide whether I would feel the same way if she were a man. The fact is that she has accomplished more than most people can dream of, with far fewer tools. That can only come from intelligence, hard work and savvy, which she certainly should feel proud about. Good, quick read for anyone looking to learn more about Justice Sotomayor.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did not quite know what to expect regarding this memoir by Justice Sotomayor of her pre-judicial life. As a student of the Court for 40 years or so, a lawyer for 35 years, and a trained political scientist, I have found judicial biographies and the few judicial memoirs highly insightful into the character and actions of particular Justices. Justice Sotomayor is certainly the least known of the current Court, at least to me, and I was pleasantly surprised how absolutely candid her book is. It tells one a great deal about her, her background, and her character. The only other candid and insightful memoir that compares with this one is Justice Thomas' "My Grandfather's Son," distinctive for its remarkable honesty and perspective on his thinking and the factors that shaped it. A number of her topics stand out:

First, she affords the reader a remarkable perspective on affirmative action, which she readily admits touched upon her own life in terms of Princeton, Yale Law, and her selection as a U.S. District Judge. Her attitude is much more supportive of the concept than Thomas was in his sometimes angry discussion of the issue in his book. Sotomayor places emphasis upon affirmative action as providing an opportunity to work very hard, unbelievably hard, and to demonstrate what your true capabilities are. She discusses this concept several times at different stages of her book, and I am very appreciative for helping to develop my thinking on this important issue.

Second, I found her story most fascinating because it is, in microcosm, the story of Puerto Rican challenges in Hispanic New York. I knew very little about this culture before reading the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, Spanglish Edition

Whenever I review a famous person biography - or "memoir" as the Justice has decided to call it - I try to think how the book would read if the person writing it would be an ordinary person.

The book opens with the Justice's diagnosis of juvenile diabetes at age 7 - "not yet 8" - and how Sonia learns how to give her insulin shots to stop her parents from fighting about it. We see a little girl who lives in the the projects of the Bronx, raised by an alcoholic father - Juan Luis or Juli - and a nurse - Celina - who are constantly fighting. Her father dies soon after the beginning of the book, and we see Sonia raised in an extended family which includes her grandmother - abuelita Mercedes - and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sonia's best friends are her immediate family and her comfort and support are drawn from it.

I found this part of the book to be quite endearing - a la Junot Díaz way - with multiple use of Spanish words and phrases to remind the reader of the Justice's background and culture. However as we move past Cardinal Spellman High School and on to Princeton and Yale Law School, the book changes in tone. The Spanish words and phrases diminish in frequency, and the reader is presented with the more professional side of the Justice.

This second half of the book I found tedious and boring. It becomes more of a who's who in the Justice personal life. The Justice apologizes in her introduction: "If particular friends or family members find themselves not mentioned...I hope they will understand that the needs of a clear and focused telling must outweigh even an abundance of feeling.
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