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My Beloved World

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  12,790 ratings  ·  2,028 reviews
An instant American icon--the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court--tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir.

With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of bel
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2013)
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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, S ...more
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 feeli
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
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 to ...more
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
Mar 10, 2014 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: NPR
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
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 ...more
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. H ...more
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 ...more
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 exi ...more
Virginia Birks
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.
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 ...more
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
Kressel Housman
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 writi
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
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, ...more
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 ...more
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
Kathleen S
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 stor ...more
A wonderful read, from beginning to end. Sotomayor's story of growing up in the projects of New York to serving on the highest court of the land is candid, thought-provoking, and inspiring. The theme throughout My Beloved World is consistent: no person can achieve their goals, no matter how big or small, without the support of family and friends. Sotomayor details her early development of self-reliance during childhood and moves on to her determination and perseverance in her academic and profes ...more
I LOVED this book! Ask any of the people I've been telling about it all the way through!. I had no idea previous to reading it that she came from the projects in the South Bronx, but the thoughtful, feeling way she writes about all of the challenges she has met, and all that she has learned or become as a result make me want to sit down with her and talk some more. I always think it helps a memoir a lot if you like the person in the memoir, and based on this book, I'd love to be her friend... I ...more
Sophie {Bibliophile by Nature}
Well-written and passionate, Sonia Sotomayor is not only a most capable, intelligent, and strong woman, she is also a remarkable writer. Her memoir, My Beloved World is a marvelous tale of how Sotomayor grew up in a Bronx public housing project with an alcoholic dad and an absent mom came to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

Sotomayor's writing is clear and thought-out. It is easy and flowing, filled with dialogue as well as description. What I liked in the beginning was that she
Emily Bazelon
Here's my NYT review of this one, which I do recommend if you're interested in how Sotomayor reached the Supreme Court.
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The 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
I was pulled into this book from the very beginning. Since I read it without any knowledge of her past, I was really surprised to learn of all of the various hurdles that Justice Sotomayor had to overcome (diabetes, early death of father, relationship issues with mother, etc.). It’s evident that she pushed her way through most of these issues by taking a hands-on, get it done type of approach, and by not allowing her illness to debilitate her from meeting her goals. There were parts where she ad ...more
Dick Reynolds
The time span of this memoir is just thirty years but so much happens that you’d think it was twice that long. At the age of eight, Sonia Sotomayor is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and must learn how to monitor her own blood sugar levels. She illustrates her strong personality by learning to give herself the daily insulin shot.
Thanks to solid family support, especially from her mother Celina, she perseveres in her Catholic education through high school. I found her story fascinating as this
Adele Fasick
Sonia Sotomayor's memoir gives us a glimpse into the world of a remarkable woman who grew up in challenging conditions. She was born to parents who had moved from Puerto Rico to the Bronx and who struggled to make a living there. Sonia's mother worked as a nursing assistant, while her father gradually sank into alcoholism and died young. Sonia herself was diagnosed with diabetes at an early age. Somehow her vibrant spirit enabled her to overcome these difficulties and to fulfill her dream to bec ...more
I will read almost anything about the Supreme Court, so it's no shock that I would want to read this. But that I loved it as much as I did is more surprising to me, in large part because while it's written by a Supreme Court Justice, it actually ends at the moment she is appointed to federal district court. So it's not about the Supreme Court at all.

But Sotomayor is a lovely storyteller. The three things I appreciated most: (1) She paints a remarkably clear portrait both of how determined she h
Susan Johnson
This is one of the best memoirs I've read. Sonia Sotomayer, a Supreme Court Justice, is a fascinating woman who made her way through hard work. She is a year younger than I am and was one of the first women in many circumstances. Affirmative Action helped her get into the Ivy League and she is a superb example of how it is supposed to work. It's not about giving unqualified people a desired spot but making sure all of the qualified are considered. She is a role model in many ways and I think th ...more
I don't read non-fiction very often. I find most of it dry and reminiscent of books I was forced to read for school. This autobiography by Justice Sotomayor has changed my view of non-fiction. It is entertaining, and I feel as if I am visiting with a friend each time i pick it up. I love seeing the familiar streets of the Bronx through young Sonia's eyes. I was proud for her when she achieved academic successes despite the challenges of juvenile diabetes, poverty and cultural bias against Puerto ...more
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My Beloved Country United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___ (2013) [Majority Opinion and Dissents]

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“. . . 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.” 28 likes
“Although wisdom is built on life experiences, the mere accumulation of years guarantees nothing.” 17 likes
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