My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor


Four stars, read in July 2015.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this. No matter how interested I am in a nonfiction book, I usually hit a lull about two-thirds of the way through, and then it takes me a couple weeks to pick it back up again. Nothing like that happened with My Beloved World, and although it’s straightforwardly biographical (very little dialogue or other attempts to “novelize” it), it never felt dry or stream of consciousness the way so many biographies do. I was absorbed by the lovely and sophisticated language, which wasn’t something I expected. It’s true that lawyers do a lot of writing, but picking up the memoir of a public figure, I just don’t usually expect to be impressed on that front.

I was impressed on that front and many others — although truthfully, it was almost annoying to read about someone who has her shit so aggressively together! Sotomayor doesn’t brag, but she also doesn’t diminish her hard work, talent, and many successes. I suppose you have to have it pretty together to end up on the Supreme Court in your early fifties, and I do love to see a powerful woman not apologizing for herself. She’s had a fascinating life — far from easy, which apparently some have insinuated? — and I found a lot in her that I could relate to. This is a political memoir* that is solidly worth the read.

*I’m not really sure I should call it a political memoir, because (1) it covers only her life up to when she first became a judge, and (2) a Supreme Court justice isn’t really supposed to be a political figure. It certainly doesn’t feel political, but I think that’s probably the most relevant label for classification purposes.

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