“Book Review by One of Our Own” for Linda M. Andersen
“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.
Let’s celebrate Wednesday, August 7, 2013–Professional Speakers Day with a book review about a Supreme Court judge and professional speaker, Sonia Sotomayor. The book review is written by one of our own–here’s how it all got started…
Susan Williams, a blog follower, left a comment about a book she was reading: “I have just started reading the autobiography of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Supreme Court (2009). She is really an inspiration to all girls and women, making us realize that we can overcome obstacles to become anything we want to be, if we just show enough dedication and perspiration. Sonia overcame her childhood of juvenile diabetes, an alcoholic father, and an overburdened mother to become one of the most important persons in our country. The title of Sonia Sotomayor’s book is My Beloved World. Anyone who has had to help a child find an AUTObiography, rather than a BIOgraphy, to read for an assignment, will surely welcome this book.”
Susan’s blog comments eventually led to the posting of this book review. How?
After receiving Susan’s comments, I contacted her and asked if she would write and post a book review for My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor.
THANK YOU SUSAN!
And here’s Susan’s review of My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor:
Book Review by Susan Williams
Title: My Beloved World.
Author: Sonia Sotomayor.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Borzoi Books, 2013.
Suitable for: Teens, Adults.
Themes/Topics: Hispanic American Women, U.S. Judges, Extended Family Support, Perseverance, Self-Determination. Contains photos from the author’s personal collection, except for one by Steve Petteway, which shows the author taking the Judicial Oath of the Supreme Court. This photo is courtesy of the Supreme Court.
Genre: My Beloved World is classified as a memoir, since it includes the author’s emotions as well as the bare facts of her life. She ends the story twenty years ago, when she first became a judge.
Synopsis: This book tells the story of Sonia Sotomayor, first Hispanic American woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She was born of parents who immigrated from Puerto Rico in 1944 and lived in the Hispanic Bronx. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was a practical nurse who avoided being at home with him by working the night shift and most weekends. Sonia’s father died when she was nine. She spent a lot of time with her grandmother, who was the source of her stability. Sonia drew strength and support from her grandmother and extended family members.
Sonia was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was seven. To keep her parents from quarreling about how to give her insulin shots, Sonia decided that she would do it herself. This shows how she came to approach life’s hardships: by meeting them head on. Living with diabetes taught her “self-discipline and an internal awareness that allowed her to have perception of the emotional states of others.” This later served her well in the courtroom. Since resources for managing diabetes were not as readily available as today, Sonia always believed that she would have a shorter than normal lifespan. Therefore, she never wasted time by doing such things as taking a semester off. She states that she still feels that urgency, which serves to feed her internal drive for accomplishments.
Sonia became high school valedictorian and graduated summa cum laude from Princeton. During her freshman year there, she realized that she had “gaps in her knowledge and understanding due to her limited cultural background within the boundaries of her family and community.” This fueled her determination to be a student for life and to seek guidance and knowledge from professors, colleagues, and friends.
At Princeton, Sonia began to see how prejudice leads to discrimination, both in color and gender. She set up a volunteer program at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital so non-English speaking patients would always have access to Spanish-speaking staff. It was here that she realized that “public service would give her the greatest professional satisfaction” and her needs would be best served through government.
Sonia had a failed marriage. After Princeton, she went to Yale Law School. She then worked with the New York County District Attorney’s office, entered private practice, and was appointed as a judge to the Federal District Court. From 1998 to 2009 she served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals. She assumed her role as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on August 8, 2009.
Why I Liked This Book: I found Judge Sotomayor’s memoir to be very inspiring. I did get a little tired of all the details concerning the family interactions, but these details showed what made Sonia the person she has become. From the time she was seven and learned to give herself insulin shots, she has never quit learning and persisting in the achievement of her goals. This book should be an inspiration to teen girls and minorities, showing them that hard work, study, and persistence go a long way toward achieving goals.
Sonia Sotomayor said this about herself: “I think this fish has found her pond.” What do you think? Please leave a comment.
Readers, let’s hear it for Sonia Sotomayor and Susan Williams.
Thanks again, Susan Williams, for agreeing to write this review and for sharing it with us. You did a wonderful job! I hope your review leads many to read My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor.
Comments anyone? Don’t be shy!
Here is another review of this book: “The Bronx, the Bench and Life in Between” by Michael Kakutani of the New York Times.
Readers, as always, I look forward to your return visit to “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon and bring a friend.
Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen