Talent Wears a Loving Legal Face


My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor

I’m attracted to personalities; I suppose that’s why I read memoirs occasionally, albeit most are musical talents of my generation. Justice Sotomayor isn’t a musician, but she is a personality, and a damned strong one, if my reading of this book bears truth. Her reason for writing a memoir just when her life among there Supremes has only begun? She’s a people person, out on the streets, in the schools among people of all stripes – and they’ve had questions. Questions about her rise from the Brooklyn projects to Princeton, Yale, to an Assistant DA role in New York City, to a highly placed law firm, to the federal bench, and finally to the Supreme Court. Questions about every aspect of her life, as it turns out.

And so she begins with her parents’ – and her – discovery in childhood that she was a type I diabetic, not a benign thing in those years. Too, she was caught between her Puerto Rican heritage and white and black U.S. cultures, and that includes linguistically. Still, she rose – thanks to a persevering mother and Madam Justice’s own will.
Her writing here is occasionally inspired, crisp, clean prose, although as she writes her life into legal advancement, she occasionally lapses into a passive voice. There are subtle hints among her clearly honest chronicling of a defensive personality – as one might expect of a Hispanic, a woman, and one of poor beginnings to boot – but her memoir finds ways to transcend this.

The memoir – an unusual bit of writing for one just now reaching the pinnacle of the legal profession – clearly portrays her honesty, her mental acuity, her love of family and friends. and I think these are damned fine qualities for one on the Supreme bench for life.

My rating 17 of 20 stars

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