Although I do not have any special interest in law, “My Beloved World” was still a great read for me, and could be for anyone interested in how a very accomplished person got to where she is, especially as a woman and racial minority. Using stories from her childhood and adulthood, Sotomayor describes her journey to the Supreme Court, starting from the projects in the Bronx and navigating through her college years and her early days as a prosecutor and judge.
As someone who has been successful enough to become a Supreme Court Justice, it is refreshing to be able to get to know Sotomayor as a relatable person who too has had her share of ups and downs in her education and career. Sotomayor often mentions how throughout her life, whenever beginning a new job or education program, she has felt slightly insecure and takes time to feel confident in what she’s doing. I felt that I could relate to the same feelings of being hesitant and slightly insecure, and found it inspiring that despite wavering in confidence at times, Sotomayor has still become a very accomplished student, lawyer, and judge. In other words, even the best have their weak moments, and moments of weakness are not necessarily a setback (and arguably may even be a strength).
Another theme present in “My Beloved World” is affirmative action. Sotomayor mentions on several occasions accusations she’s received of only being admitted to Princeton or Yale Law School, or given a certain job only because of her race. She is calm and firm in explaining to such people that even if she benefited directly from affirmative action, she nonetheless has worked tirelessly for her accomplishments, and again and again has proven herself a very intelligent, hardworking, and successful person. At one point, she explains that although her first year as an undergrad at Princeton was very difficult, she managed to graduate at the top of her class. As affirmative action debates are still ongoing today, Sotomayor’s story sheds light into the benefits of affirmative action programs.
Although my reasons for reading “My Beloved World” were more to hear a success story from a woman who is also a racial minority, Sotomayor’s autobiography would probably be of even more interest to someone interested in law, who is curious to hear about Sotomayor’s experiences in law school, and as a prosecutor and judge. That said, I really loved this book, and would recommend it also to anyone interested in feminism, women’s studies, Latino/a studies, and affirmative action.