I really like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She’s a hero. So that’s why I was really excited to read her memoir, My Beloved World. Although her story is inspirational, Justice Sotomayor’s writing is only OK and occasionally sappy.
On one hand, the book is a perfectly solid and well-written memoir, and there are parts that are quite moving. Justice Sotomayor is an inspiration, and from the first pages, in which she discusses her Type 1 diabetes, the book’s message is clear: take what’s given to you — positive and negative — and consider everything a gift.
In particular, I really like that Justice Sotomayor emphasizes the importance of education and how crucial it was that she worked very hard as a student. Also impressive is her direct endorsement of affirmative action. Because the Supreme Court will likely strike down affirmative action this term, I valued that Justice Sotomayor recognizes that she is a successful product of affirmative action, while Justice Clarence Thomas has long repudiated the notion.
Justice Sotomayor is, of course, a wonderful person, and her American story is one that needs to be told. But at points, the writing was a bit cliche — most likely because she is still serving on the Court. You can’t quite say everything you want to say when you’re supposed to be impartial. Toward the end, there were too many mentors and people to thank and happy, organized endings. And I wish she would have discussed her time as an appellate judge. Maybe that memoir will come in time.