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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,223 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sonia Sotomayor Narrator: Rita Moreno Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9780307913111
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My Beloved Life is yet another outstanding achievement Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has realized in her lifetime. Sonia Sotomayor became an "instant American icon" after being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009. She is the third female and first Hispanic justice selected in the Court's 224 year history.

Sotomayor's life circumstances did not foretell her many successes. She grew up in poverty in a Bronx housing project, lost her father at age nine, and was diagnosed with a chronic illness—diabetes—when she was just seven. Sotomayor has said she wrote the book to let other "ordinary" people with life challenges know that they, too, can fulfill their dreams.

In its history 353 books have been written by Supreme Court Justices, but never before has one been so personal: intensely examining and illuminating one's own personal experience. My Beloved Life covers Sotomayor's childhood and life up until she became a federal judge; it's about developing an identity, a coming of age story. Her life—and her book—are an eloquent testament of a childhood dream realized through exceptional dedication and drive.

Sotomayor's writing is expressive, powerful and engaging; the memoir reads like a novel, with prose-like details of family parties, childhood friendships and arguing parents. As her mother grew more frustrated with her father's alcoholism, she began working nights and weekends to avoid being in the home and leaving little Sonia feeling abandoned. The young Sonia realized that in this uncertain and unstable environment, she would have to rely on herself.

Years later, on a visit to Harvard when checking out colleges, Sotomayor was so overwhelmed and felt so out-of-place, she literally ran out the door. She said later that her mother had taught her that "a surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence." And so she soldiered on, ultimately graduating from Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Like her life, Sotomayor's book is fascinating. Prior to My Beloved World, Sotomayor's life was also chronicled in Una Sabia Decision (A Wise Decision) in 2010, also available here at Audiobook Store.

The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.  She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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. Publishers Weekly
  • 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. Kirkus Reviews
  • My Beloved World is filled with inspiring, and surprisingly candid, stories.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • 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
  • “A compelling and powerfully written memoir about identity and coming of age…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.”

    New York Times

  • “Big-hearted…A powerful defense of empathy…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.”

    Washington Post

  • “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.”

    NPR

  • “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. 

    Boston Globe

  • “This is a woman who knows where she comes from and has the force to bring you there.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “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.”

    Adam Liptak, New York Times

  • “Remarkable…A portrait of a genuinely interesting person.”

    Daily Beast

  • “A surprising wealth of candor, wit, and affection…Her magical portraits of loved ones bring to mind Sandra Cisneros’ 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 woman-centric world.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “With buoyant humor and thoughtful candor, she recounts her rise from a crime-infested neighborhood in the…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.”

    Washingtonian

  • “Vital, loving, and incisive…Her memoir shows both her continued self-reliance and her passion for community.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Amazingly candid…an intimate and honest look at her extraordinary life and the support and blessings that propelled her forward.” 

    Booklist (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.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Graceful, authoritative memoir…Mature, life-affirming musings from a venerable life shaped by tenacity and pride.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2013
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award,
  • One of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
  • A 2014 Audie Award Finalist for Biography/Memoir
  • A Washington Post Bestseller
  • A 2013 Washington Post Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • A #1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A 2013 Booklist Editors’ Choice for Adult Audio
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • An NPR Bestseller
  • Finalist for the 2014 Audie Award for Best Solo Narration--Female

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Beth | 2/19/2014

    " I loved this audiobook so much that, when Rita Moreno read, "Epilogue," I shouted "NO!" even though I was alone in my car. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jose | 2/9/2014

    " What an outstanding and inspiring life! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teri | 2/6/2014

    " She is an amazing person...I found the first half more intersting than the second. I sort of got lost in the fast pace through her career years...even though she was so young when she got important positions...I am afraid i was one of those people she mentions in the book who only knew about Puerto Ricans from what i learned from West Side Story. So I was glad to get a better understanding of that culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 1/26/2014

    " Every woman in America should read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gulsun | 1/21/2014

    " I am usually not a big fan of autobiographies because the writing tends to be sub par. This book is no different; however her amazing story and intimate voice make up for the writing. It is impossible not to get inspired by her self-will and be amazed at her gratefulness despite the challenges she had to face since early childhood. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annalynn | 1/20/2014

    " An amazing memoir, written by one of the most incredible women in America today. This should be required reading for all young women in high school, so that they can learn what a true hero and role model is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Neufeldt | 1/13/2014

    " Life challenges faced with grit, community, compassion, independence, hard work, and determination. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 1/12/2014

    " I picked this up because I had heard Justice Sotomayor on NPR and found her so charming and so brilliant that I was curious about her biography. The woman knows how to tell a story! I was captured on the first page. From the moment when she teaches herself how to administer her own insulin shots at the age of 7, she reveals herself to be brave, determined and strong. Sonia's father was an alcoholic and her mother, while devoted to her children, was overburdened and overworked. As a young girl, Sonia escaped her tumultuous household by spending time with her paternal grandmother, who dispensed wise advise and provided peace. Called Aji - hot pepper - by her parents, Sonia's rise to valedictorian of her high school, honors at Princeton and then Yale Law really is inspiring. While the stories from her years in the New York County District Attorney office are fascinating, I'm sorry the story ends just as she is appointed to the Federal District Court. I hope there is another book in her future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 12/27/2013

    " Very good bio. I wanted to read this mainly for the non-career moments (especially her life with diabetes), and I was pleasantly surprised that all parts of this book were interesting to read about. Very glad I picked this one up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Hiller | 12/26/2013

    " Loved this book, especially her stories from her childhood. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 12/25/2013

    " I listened to this book on CD, with the introduction read by Sonia Sotomayor and the book read by Rita Moreno. Well-written, frank, inspiring autobiography. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 12/6/2013

    " justice sotomayor has come a long way since her hardscrabble beginnings in the bronx. her story is inspring and courageous. her voice is both intimate and judicious. her story is a love letter to affirmative action and mentors, and it thrills me that she is serving on our highest court. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 NVTony | 12/1/2013

    " Interesting look into life of a US Supreme Court Justice. Makes member of court seem like a neighbor rather than arbiter of law. Highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam Johnston | 11/7/2013

    " Justice Sotomayor's memoir is delightful. My favorite section is when she describes her trial work as an Assistant DA. She eloquently and humbles describes how to assemble and deliver persuasive arguments to juries. The whole book is a treat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 10/14/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a lot too! Sonia Sotomayor is an excellent storyteller writes who with candor and humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tamara Thompson | 7/7/2013

    " Wonderful inspiring life story, this book engaged me fully from the first few pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 5/7/2013

    " So much to admire about this woman, so, so, much! She seems to get instinctively at a very young age that the key to one's own happiness Is improving the lives of others. I believe that this must have been written on her heart. In the face of her own adversities, she refused to give up. "

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About the Author

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.

About the Narrator

Rita Moreno is one of the few artists to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. She has also received a Golden Globe Award and a National Medal of Honor. She is regularly appears in the television show, Happily Divorced.