What a good writer / good storyteller Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is! This is an excellent down to earth tale of her life, perhaps memoir more than autobiography.
Most of her family and personal stories are very sad, and very telling about our culture and how it treats The Other. But she is such a matter of fact writer, piercing through facts to the larger truths, that the reader is swept along as though these were O. Henry stories.
This book takes us to her swearing in at her first judgeship in the New York federal courts. And it’s only as she nears that place that she becomes a bit philosophical, and shows herself as the thinker and philosopher she is.
Before that, she grows up in the projects in New York City, in a varied close and warm extended family, lives through her father’s death of alcoholism, and then her mother’s nearly complete withdrawal from her children, on through Catholic school, then high school, to Princeton, where she graduates summa cum laude, not knowing exactly what that is, and then moves on to Yale for law school. She gets married to her Irish sweetheart, and then turns her focus to her career – in many ways, just as majority males have done and continue to do. With the result that the marriage ends, amicably, but definitely over.
Her career is striking in how it follows a plan she had made while at Princeton – to become a federal judge! She wanted public service experience, prosecutorial experience, pro bono non-profit work, and to work for a commercial law firm. She did all of that, exceeding expectations at every turn – and then the opportunity to serve on the bench was offered. She knew what she wanted, focused on it – the opportunities arrived as though ordered in the exact right timing.
An extraordinary woman, an extraordinary book. No ponderous tome written for our improvemewnt, but a warm and complex and powerful story of a woman and her struggles in our time.