Monday, June 15, 2015

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

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.


Anonymous said...

Did she earn her place in life as espoused by this comment ? ... " Sotomayor's book is a lesson about effort being rewarded". Or was she offered an advantage via affirmative action due to her minority status ? .... " She received a scholarship to Princeton thanks to affirmative action". FYI SCOTUS has upheld a ban on affirmative action in college admission, and 8 states including Californian ban the practice.
Lastly you point out .. the death of her Puerto Rican father when she was only nine... I grant you that losing a father can be traumatic but what's so special about his ethnicity ? Is is any more or less hard for children of black or white fathers when they die ?

ricklibrarian said...

I think affirmative action is a grand idea. Many people need help getting with affording education and getting started in careers. I certainly needed help and have been helped through every phase of my life. We need this more than ever in our country which is becoming so mean-hearted as more and more social programs are being defunded. Fiscal conservatives so we cannot afford to help people any more. That's short-sighted. Helping people is our greatest calling. What is money for? Money spent together is much better spent than held tight.

There is no stigma of being helped.

Anonymous said...

No argument that we are at our best when we help those most in need. However it is a question of how to best go about helping. Entitlements are fraught with problems; they rely on other peoples money that is coerced through taxes, they eliminate the need for individuals to practice the "golden rule" ( why should I personally care about my fellow citizen when the state/fed govt does it for me) and lastly they serve as a disincentive to hard work and enterprise through enslaving people into welfare. Versus individual cooperative actions via charitable giving, which is targeted and temporary. And American are very generous - over 303 billion dollars were given to charities in 2014 ( see below). So really we are of similar minds on this issue, it is just how we go about it that divides us.

ricklibrarian said...

I would have no problem with leaving assistance to charities if it was adequate, but the problems are so monumental and some charities are as prone to inefficiency and corruption as governments. And you are correct in that people resent taxes because they are imposed. Yet we have to rely on both in this imperfect world. We need to get help to people in whatever form we can.