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My Beloved World (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Rauer Buchschnitt, 15. Januar 2013
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“A compelling and powerfully written memoir about identity and coming of age…If the outlines of Justice Sotomayor’s life are well known by now, her searching and emotionally intimate memoir, My Beloved World, nonetheless has the power to surprise and move the reader…This account of her life is revealing, keenly observed and deeply felt…This insightful memoir underscores just how well Justice Sotomayor mastered the art of narrative. It’s an eloquent and affecting testament to the triumph of brains and hard work over circumstance, of a childhood dream realized through extraordinary will and dedication.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"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
"With buoyant humor and thoughtful candor, she recounts her rise from a crime-infested neighborhood in the South Bronx to the nation's highest court. 'I will be judged as a human being by what readers find here,' Sotomayor writes. We, the jury in this case, find her irresistible."
—John Wilwol, Washingtonian
"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
"You'll see in Sotomayor a surprising wealth of candor, wit, and affection. No topic is off limits, not her diabetes, her father's death, her divorce, or her cousin's death from AIDS. Put the kettle on, reader, it's time for some real talk with Titi Sonia…The author shines in her passages on childhood, family, and self-discovery. Her magical portraits of loved ones bring to mind Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street; both authors bring a sense of childlike wonder and empathy to a world rarely seen in books, a Latin-American and womancentric world."
—Grace Bello, Christian Science Monitor
“This is a page-turner, beautifully written and novelistic in its tale of family, love and triumph. It hums with hope and exhilaration. This is a story of human triumph.”
—Nina Totenberg, NPR
"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
“My Beloved World” is filled with inspiring, and surprisingly candid, stories about how the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice overcame a troubled childhood to attend Princeton and Yale Law School, eventually earning a seat on the nation’s highest court.”
—Carla Main, Wall Street Journal
"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
"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
“Vital, loving, and incisive…In this revealing memoir, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor candidly and gracefully recounts her formative years. Her memoir shows both her continued self-reliance and her passion for community.”
—Library Journal (Starred review)
“Justice Sotomayor recounts numerous obstacles and remarkable achievements in this personal and inspiring autobiography…Readers across the board will be moved by this intimate look at the life of a justice.”
“Amazingly candid… an intimate and honest look at her extraordinary life and the support and blessings that propelled her forward.”
—Booklist (Starred review)
“Graceful, authoritative memoir…Mature, life-affirming musings from a venerable life shaped by tenacity and pride.”
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
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.
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One is how a member of a minority, acutally a number of minority groups, can succeed in spite all the odds against her. She was an energetic child who was encouraged and supported by both her parents, though in very different ways, also by her extended family with many cousins and aunts on her side. She grew up in a Puerto-Rican family in a district with many African-Americans and Hispanics. Her grandmother was the person every child needs, that special someone who provides her with unconditional love, respect and confidence. Educated in a Catholic schools she learned early on to be very disciplined. Discipline she needs a lot of, escpealliy after being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, an everyday challenge that required discipline and courage of her. Her fahter died of alcoholism when she was only nine, another blow to any child, disruptive to any childhood, but Sonia kept on going the right way.
She was encouraged to go to university and succeeded beyond anone’s wildest dreams. Supported by affirmative action Sotomayor did an outstanding job.
Her first marriage ends after some time, and maybe most men today still find it hard to cope with a strong, independent woman. So she seems to define herself in many ways by her performance and the many friends who surround and support her.
She points out quite clearly she needed the help of others to succeed. She wants to encourage any minority member not believe in labels stuck onto them but just be themselves - sounds really like a cliché – but some things can be expressed in a very easy way. It is just hard to do them.
Very recommendable reading for anyone.
Most people have few problems deciding whom they should serve. It's "me," "me," "me," "me."
For Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, the answer was always "others," "others," "others," and "others."
While some arrive at the same answer as Ms. Sotomayor, many of them reach that point through guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and felt pressure from others.
From reading this book carefully, I got the sense that Ms. Sotomayor operates more in this way: "If I can help, I will." It's a calling with her.
I don't often have the pleasure to read about the life of such a person. I felt blessed by this opportunity.
Many readers will enjoy (as I did) gaining a better sense of what it's like to grow up with Type 1 diabetes, be of Puerto Rican ancestry, and to face challenges for which one has little preparation to make things easier.
I was intrigued by her descriptions of learning to be an effective prosecutor. Most memoirs skip over the details of such trials by fire.
Be aware that this is not an autobiography. It isn't rigorously capturing a life, bur rather giving her thoughts about her experiences ... through the time when she was first appointed to be a Federal district judge.
I don't know another person who has worn the black robes who has been so candid and open about a personal life before sitting behind the bench. I admire her for doing so.
If you read only one memoir this year, I commend this one to you as an excellent choice.
If we define life success through personal efforts – this is school example for it.
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The book was engaging, and really demonstrates what hard work can accomplish. As she notes, she may not have been qualified when she made it to certain points in her life, but she worked her tail off to show that she was more than deserving, which can be seen by all types of objective achievements. I particularly enjoyed the sections of the book that discussed her work at the DA's office. If I had one major complaint, it would be that she was a tad bit too self-congratulatory. That could be my own stereotypes speaking, however! I have to push myself to decide whether I would feel the same way if she were a man. The fact is that she has accomplished more than most people can dream of, with far fewer tools. That can only come from intelligence, hard work and savvy, which she certainly should feel proud about. Good, quick read for anyone looking to learn more about Justice Sotomayor.
First, she affords the reader a remarkable perspective on affirmative action, which she readily admits touched upon her own life in terms of Princeton, Yale Law, and her selection as a U.S. District Judge. Her attitude is much more supportive of the concept than Thomas was in his sometimes angry discussion of the issue in his book. Sotomayor places emphasis upon affirmative action as providing an opportunity to work very hard, unbelievably hard, and to demonstrate what your true capabilities are. She discusses this concept several times at different stages of her book, and I am very appreciative for helping to develop my thinking on this important issue.
Second, I found her story most fascinating because it is, in microcosm, the story of Puerto Rican challenges in Hispanic New York. I knew very little about this culture before reading the book. But throughout, elements of Puerto Rican life pop up; and I was pleased that the author uses many Spanish names and expressions, which facilitates the reader's introduction to this rich culture. Sotomayor has included a glossary of Spanish terms and expressions which is quite helpful. The challenges that Sotomayor faced, and faced successfully, are immense. And it is important to understand this dimensions of the Puerto Rican experience.
For those contemplating a legal career, the book affords important insights. As a retired law firm partner, I was particularly interested in the narrative of her progression from being an Assistant D.A. in New York, to becoming a law firm associate and later partner, and finally her initial judicial appointment. Since this was all new to Sotomayor, she shares her reactions to each step in a way that educates the reader as to the challenges in following such a course.
Finally, I was delighted with how candidly she discusses her type I diabetes and how this has impacted (and continues to impact) her life. Since we currently have some manner of epidemic underway, with many victims unaware of their condition, such discussion is critically important. I speak from my own experience.
There are many other "pluses" I could discuss, but these are the major points that struck me. I should add that she emerges as one tough character; a trait I am sure she relies upon frequently in interacting with some of her forceful Court brethren. For this, I am extremely thankful. Surely, Sotomayor has a healthy ego, but after reading this remarkable memoir, one can only conclude she has earned it.
Whenever I review a famous person biography - or "memoir" as the Justice has decided to call it - I try to think how the book would read if the person writing it would be an ordinary person.
The book opens with the Justice's diagnosis of juvenile diabetes at age 7 - "not yet 8" - and how Sonia learns how to give her insulin shots to stop her parents from fighting about it. We see a little girl who lives in the the projects of the Bronx, raised by an alcoholic father - Juan Luis or Juli - and a nurse - Celina - who are constantly fighting. Her father dies soon after the beginning of the book, and we see Sonia raised in an extended family which includes her grandmother - abuelita Mercedes - and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sonia's best friends are her immediate family and her comfort and support are drawn from it.
I found this part of the book to be quite endearing - a la Junot Díaz way - with multiple use of Spanish words and phrases to remind the reader of the Justice's background and culture. However as we move past Cardinal Spellman High School and on to Princeton and Yale Law School, the book changes in tone. The Spanish words and phrases diminish in frequency, and the reader is presented with the more professional side of the Justice.
This second half of the book I found tedious and boring. It becomes more of a who's who in the Justice personal life. The Justice apologizes in her introduction: "If particular friends or family members find themselves not mentioned...I hope they will understand that the needs of a clear and focused telling must outweigh even an abundance of feeling." It almost felt that if you were famous and she knew you, she would drop his or her name to add flare to the narrative. i didn't like it - I felt it drew flare away from her....
I also wondered why the Justice found herself defending her admissions to Princeton and Yale Law School. Her constant defense and justification of minority quotas and her insecurities as to why she was admitted to both schools are not necessary; after all, she's a Justice of the Supreme Court - case closed!
Her work as assistant D. A. in New York, the cases she tried, and then her take at the Pavia and Hartcourt law firm, and finally her appointment to the District Court Judge for the South District of NY - where the book abruptly ends - are not as fun to read. And, yes, I was disappointed that the Justice did not include her story as to how she was appointed to the Supreme Court. As much as I admire and like the Judge, I think it would have made a much better read, given who she is, and why we're reading her story.
The book is very well edited; the narrative is from the first person universal point if view; which is what I would expect in any a biography. After all, we're seeing the world through Sonia Sotomayor's point of view. The Glossary is a nice feature.
In all, I would recommend the book to anyone who. like me, admires the Judge.
I winced when the Justice gave herself an insulin injection on 60 Minutes; the incident repeats itself in the opening chapter, one that it reads more like a Dennis Lehane sequence, and the only thing keeping it from continuing on in this manner are the interjections, the lessons of a lived life, that every so often bubble up and infuse the text with didactic mannerisms. But even with them, the text flows easily, readers are engulfed in the lustrous prose because the language is steeped in verisimilitude with its seances, Abuelita and bisabuela, the neuropathy of a father bathed in alcoholism - the characters all alive, vivid, and brilliantly real. At some moments, you could be in the magical world of Marquez, as in: "vines snaked under iron fences and up balustrades. Chickens scrabbled under hibiscus bushes and bright yellow canario flowers. I watched the afternoon rains pour down like a curtain...". In other places, the regret of Joan Didion: "ballet class was a brief torture."
Justice Sotomayor had the ability to study with the TV on, and although many consider TV a wasteland, Perry Mason and Burger the prosecutor rose up to cast their influence. It's believable because it happened to many of us (Lieutenant Tragg was my favorite). Then came career influences: Princeton and Yale seem like so much playtime, until the case of Richard Maddicks, New York's infamous Tarzan murderer. Here the writing itself changes; morphs into something out of an Elmore Leonard novel, except that it's a real case, and probably one of the reasons the Justice was so convincing when she told 60 Minutes she had seen true evil.
Charming, chilling and powerful, all at the same time.
Her rags-to-glory story has many fascinating takeaways, including her culture, her family, dealing with an alcoholic father, barriers to women, diabetes. . . and much more. There were two big ones, though, for me. First, was the application of her story to affirmative action and racism. Her stories from Princeton, Yale and the practice of law explode so many of the myths exploited by those who think the need is past and speak to many issues, including the value of diversity. As the Court faces the possibility (again) of declaring affirmative action unconstitutional, this honest presentation of one story underscores its importance and value in a way that the opinions in the case surely will not --- they will seem hollow and out-of-touch in comparison. Second, was her willingness throughout her life to admit to herself what she didn't know (yet). When presented with others who exceeded her knowledge and ability in any area, rather than acting defensively, she would seek out their knowledge and advice. She studies both friends and mentors for what she can learn from them and, by dint of will and effort, keeps growing and learning. It takes both drive and a deep level of secure self-esteem to follow this course, and this aspect of her story alone is highly inspirational.