At a time when memoirs are fashionable, Sonia Sotomayor has published an autobiography. My Beloved World is not her full life story, ending the book with becoming a federal judge in 1992 after being recommended by Democratic New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and nominated by Republican President George H. W. Bush. Her wide-ranging book tells of her childhood, education, and early career as a lawyer. Besides being a how-I-got-to-this point-book, it is a testament to the years of her youth - which were the youthful years of the Baby Boom Generation.
The major outside force in Sotomayor's early life was the Civil Rights Movement. Her personal challenges were diabetes and the death of her Puerto Rican father when she was only nine. She took charge of her daily insulin shots, helped her mother run the home, and graduated as valedictorian at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School and at Cardinal Spellman High School. She received a scholarship to Princeton thanks to affirmative action, for which she is grateful. She is not ashamed of needing help and taking it. She points out that she was academically qualified and won many honors because she applied herself.
Sotomayor's book is a lesson about effort being rewarded. She tells several stories of starting new phases of her life without having role models to prepare her for the cultural challenges. The key she says is to be honest about your needs and ask questions and for help when necessary.
Being of Sotomayor's age, I enjoyed My Beloved World thoroughly and hope she will write another to recount her years as a judge.
Sotomayor, Sonia. My Beloved World. Vintage Books, 2014. 398p. ISBN 9780345804839.