What was it in Sandra Day O'Connor's background and early life that helped make her the woman she is today-the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and one of the most powerful women in America? In this beautiful, illuminating, and unusual book, Sandra Day O'Connor, with her brother, Alan, tells the story of the Day family and of growing up on the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B Ranch in Arizona. Laced throughout these stories about three generations of the Day family, and everyday life on the Lazy B, are the lessons Sandra and Alan learned about the world, about people, self-reliance, and survival, and the reader will learn how the values of the Lazy B shaped them and their lives. Sandra's grandfather first put some cattle on open grazing land in 1886, and the Lazy B developed and continued to prosper as Sandra's parents, who eloped and then lived on the Lazy B all their lives, carved out a frugal and happy life for themselves and their three children on the rugged frontier. As you read about the daily adventures, the cattle drives and roundups, the cowboys and horses, the continual praying for rain and fixing of windmills, the values instilled by a self-reliant way of life, you see how Sandra Day O'Connor grew up. This fascinating glimpse of life in the American Southwest in the last century recounts an interesting time in our history, and gives us an enduring portrait of an independent young woman on the brink of becoming one of the most prominent figures in America today.
An informative account of the early life and family of Supreme Court Justice O'Connor, LAZY B gives a fairly detailed account of what a family ranch was all about from the 1930s (Day-O'Connor was born in 1930)up into the 1980s, when both her parents died. Not long after that, the Day family ranch was sold.
While O'Connor's story was interesting enough, its telling remained rather flat and humorless and never really engaged me, and I found myself skimming over many of the short anecdotal sections which make up the book. Sandra was the oldest of three children and there was a nine-year gap between her and her two siblings, Ann and Alan. She was sent away to school in El Paso and so spent less time on the ranch than did her siblings, especially her brother, who took over the day to day operations of the ranch as her father became older. I suspect many of the memories laid down here came not from Sandra but from her brother Alan, who is credited as co-author, even though the book is presented in first person. So, while the book is well-written enough, it has a ghost-written feel to it, which made it less engagaging. I would recommend it mostly for its historical importance, i.e. this is how one of our Supreme Court Justices grew up, and this is what ranch life in the desert Southwest was lke from the Depression years through the end of the twentieth century.