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.
“Classic Sotomayor: intelligent, gregarious and at times disarmingly personal.” —NPR
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.
Praise for My Beloved World
“The book delivers on its promise of intimacy in its depictions of Sotomayor’s family, the corner of Puerto Rican immigrant New York where she was raised and the link she feels to the island where she spent childhood summers …This is a woman who knows where she comes from and has the force to bring you there. Sotomayor does this by being cleareyed about the flaws of the adults who raised her—she lets them be complicated…’I’ve spent my whole life learning how to do things that were hard for me,’ Sotomayor tells an acquaintance when he asks whether becoming a judge will be difficult for her. Yes, she has. And by the time you close My Beloved World, you understand how she has mastered judging, too.” —Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Book Review
“Classic Sotomayor: intelligent, gregarious and at times disarmingly personal…A portrait of an underprivileged but brilliant young woman who makes her way into the American elite and does her best to reform it from the inside…I certainly hope My Beloved World inspires readers to chase their dreams.” —Jason Farago, NPR
“Sotomayor turns out to be a writer of depth and literary flair…My Beloved World is steeped in vivid memories of New York City, and it is an exceptionally frank account of the challenges that she faced during her ascent from a public housing project to the court’s marble palace on First Street.” —Adam Liptak, The New York Times
“Big-hearted…A powerful defense of empathy…She has spent her life imagining her way into the hearts of everyone around her…Anyone wondering how a child raised in public housing, without speaking English, by an alcoholic father and a largely absent mother could become the first Latina on the Supreme Court will find the answer in these pages. It didn’t take just a village: It took a country.” —Dahlia Lithwick, The Washington Post
“Remarkable…A portrait of a genuinely interesting person.” —Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast
“In a refreshing conversational style, Sotomayor tells her fascinating life story with the hope of providing “comfort, perhaps even inspiration” to others, particularly children, who face hard times. “People who live in difficult circumstances,” Sotomayor writes in her preface, “need to know that happy endings are possible.” —Jay Wexler, Boston Globe
“An intimate and honest look at an extraordinary life” —Booklist
“Inspiring…Regardless of political philosophies, readers across the board will be moved by this intimate look at the life of a justice.” —Publishers Weekly
“Revealing… candid…graceful” —Library Journal
“Life-affirming musings from a venerable life shaped by tenacity and pride” —Kirkus Reviews
Sonia Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976 and from Yale Law School in 1979. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York and then at the law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. From 1992 to 1998, she served as a judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and from 1998 to 2009 on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; she assumed this role on August 8, 2009.