My Beloved World

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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 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.

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
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