The nations first ever Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, was appointed to the bench in 2009. Her autobiography, My Beloved World, has become one of the nation’s best seller and is published had been two languages. Her book is a captivating and inspirational story that focuses on her triumphs despite the struggles she experienced in her life. The tone throughout her book is mostly positive, however Sotomayor mentions her life challenges with type one diabetes during childhood, the death of her cousin due to acquiring AIDS, her regret of not having kids and her failed marriage. The book ends just as she is appointed to the Supreme Court. Overall, Sotomayor offers a story about an underprivileged young woman from the Bronx who works her way into the American elite.
When Sotomayor was just seven years old, she was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Without her parents help, she learned how to give herself insulin shots by practicing on an orange. Her daily shots of insulin became her way of limiting arguments between her parents. Her father could not give her the shots because his hands trembled due to his alcoholism, and her mother, who was a nurse, would always work long hours and got irritated when she couldn’t rely on him to take care of young Sotomayor. The last thing I wanted was for them to fight about me, Sotomayor also explains that It then dawned on me: If
I needed to have these shots every day for the rest of my life, the only way I’d survive was to do it myself.
As a child, Sotomayor was raised in a Spanish speaking home in the housing projects of the Bronx. Her father was an alcoholic and died when Sonia was just nine years old. Her mother was very dedicated to Sotomayor and her brother, Junior’s, education that she bought them a set of Encyclopedias she could hardly afford. Much of Sotomayor’s childhood was spent with her extended families, especially her beloved grandmother, whom she adored and became a huge influence in her life.
Sotomayor’s intelligence and motivation got her accepted into Princeton as an undergrad, and then to Yale Law School. Her most captivating writing comes from the chapters about her higher education, where she noticed the social gaps that separated her from richer classmates. As a freshman in Princeton, Sotomayor noticed that her writing skills were not strong compared to other students. She would check out grammar books from the library and taught herself how to strengthen her writing. As part of her scholarship she worked at a data-entry job, where she would input the financial records for Princeton’s legacy students in the computers. For Sotomayor, who grew up with a family that did not even own a bank account stated that, this was a glimpse of trust funds; tax write-offs and loopholes; Summer jobs at daddy’s firm that paid the equivalent of a year’s tuition. This is when she realized how much financial entitlement the privileged class got in comparison to other classes.
When President Obama had appointed Sotomayor as the Supreme court Justice, he had chosen the word Empathy on his wishlist. Empathy was the word he had chosen to describe
Sotomayor as the next supreme court Justice. Empathy is also the major theme for Sotomayor’s book. She explains empathy as a product of listening closely to the words and needs of others. Sotomayor has payed attention to the advice she was told by others throughout her lifetime, especially from her beloved grandmother, the captain of her high school forensics team who encouraged her to apply to Princeton, and her many mentors at the law school.
One of the most intriguing characteristics of Sotomayor is her personality. She is never afraid to confront her fears and failures and taking risks. For instance, when she did not do well in a course, she took a harder course in that same subject. To reduce her fear of swimming, she took multiple swimming lessons to become a stronger swimmer. Sotomayor eventually asked her friends for shopping advice. She wanted to discover her own style because she always claimed to have no interest in clothing and felt that her style could never compete with her mother. After Sotomayor’s failed marriage, she wanted to find new ways to distract herself, and she decided to take salsa lessons, in which she found a new to way express herself. Sotomayor has been an inspiration to all based on all the risks she has taken throughout her lifetime.
As the book progresses, Sotomayor writes: “I have ventured to write more intimately about my personal life than is customary for a member of the Supreme Court, and with that candor comes a measure of vulnerability. I will be judged as a human being by what readers find here. There are hazards to openness, but they seem minor compared with the possibility that some readers may find comfort, perhaps even inspiration, from a close examination of how an ordinary person, with strengths and weaknesses like anyone else, has managed an extraordinary journey.” She wants the audience to understand who she is by discussing her underprivileged upbringing and the challenges she faced in overcoming barriers with the hopes that she is able to inspire underprivileged communities. She also wants to prove that she is still equal as everyone else, regardless of her status.
My Beloved World is inspirational and proves to the readers that success doesn’t come from being rich and having all the resources. It does not matter what background, city or history you came from, as long as you believe in yourself and persevere you will be able to follow your dreams. Her book reminds everyone that hard work on it’s own is not enough to take anyone to be successful in America, but having a specific drive and motivation can help us lead to success. Sonia Sotomayor has become a world wide influencer that has the changed the perspective of many people who did not believe in having a dream and pursuing it.
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