I picked up the audio book of Sonia Sotomayer’s memoir My Beloved World as part of my attempts to broaden my influence base. I hadn’t realized how…. white…. my US influences were until I was in a talk by a prominent African-American scholar and she referred to the well-known African-American thinkers and I didn’t recognize any of them. Oops. It was one of those moments when I realized how different the US and Canada are. While there are certainly racial issues in Canada, diversity is more built into the culture and more highly valued. When I think of favorite authors Lawrence HIll, Joseph Boyden, and Michael Ondaatje are all on the list.
So, I decided it was time to educate myself.
The first piece of the education of this book was that I’ve been saying Ms. Sotomayer’s name wrong. A definite advantage of the audio book!
At first I wondered if the book was going to be boring. In the opening the obstacles in her life that are laid out are that she is a diabetic and had an alcoholic father. She definitely underplays the hardships she overcame.
I expected this to be a heartwarming story of a minority woman overcome prejudice and racism to make her way in the world, and it was. What I didn’t expect was to identify with Ms. Sotomayer. While the whole story is worth the read, I found the later parts as she discusses making her way through the world as a single woman and auntie to many very close to my own experience.
The book isn’t hugely dramatic, but it’s a very interesting story and makes you feel you know her and have a better understanding of the difficulties of being one of the first people of Puerto Rican heritage to reach positions, schools, and obstacles. Ms. Sotomayer is an inspiring figure. I look forward to watching her decisions more carefully from now on.
Now I want to read Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s memoirs!!