An analytical view of the personal and cultural values that make the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic and third woman justice an admirable role model.
Emphasizing Sotomayor’s affinity to minority readers in particular, Mendoza highlights the influences of Nuyorican community spirit (“the wonderful optimism of being bicultural”) and “Island Girl Values” along with the personal discipline required to live with childhood diabetes in forming her subject’s character. Sotomayor’s youth and career acquire a shine of legend as she goes from early ambitions to be the “Latina Perry Mason” (a phrase the author loves enough to use repeatedly) through law school and up the ladder of responsibility. Her attainment of the stratospheric bench where “she was meant to be all along,” leading the “Rock Star Life” of a Supreme Court justice, is presented as destiny. Wowza. The prose, though rough-hewn (“The value of education was always engrained in her brain”), is at least less mannered than the free verse of Carmen T. Bernier-Grand’s eponymous profile, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez (2010), and the biographical details end with a note on a 2015 award.
Definitely on a mission, but some sense of the woman beneath the robes comes through. (notes, bibliography) (Biography. 12-14)