Sonia Pressman Fuentes

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Excerpts from Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You

  • Jewish Geography -- this story was first published in October 1998 in Der Bay, the newsletter of the International Association of Yiddish Clubs.  Here, both the English version and a version in transliterated Yiddish are available in pdf format.
  • Return to Germany -- the story of Sonia’s return to Germany in 1978 to speak about the women’s rights revolution in the US for the then-US Information Agency (USIA), published on the website of The Jewish Writing Project on Jan. 19, 2009. That story is also contained in the anthology, Marking Humanity, Stories Poems, & Essays by Holocaust Survivors, edited by Shlomit Kriger (Aug. 23, 2010, pp. 226-234).
  • If You Speak His Language --This piece was published in Tzum Punkt (Nov.-Dec. 1999, Vol. 1, No. 2)  p. 5, the newsletter of Yiddish of Greater Washington.
  • Thai Silk -- This piece was first published in the Common Law Lawyer and then on the websites of,, and (September 2001).
  • Florida and Beyond -- This excerpt appeared on May 25, 2001, in the Story Lady e-newsletter and on its website, the Jewish Frontier, the Jewish Internet magazine, the Jewish Magazine online, the e-zine, Home-Based Working Moms, and the Writer Online. Terry Boothman, the editor of the Writer Online, had this to say about it in the January 14, 2003, issue that carried the story:

    Everyone's life is interesting, right? Sure. So, everyone should write a memoir, right? Yeah, why not.. And everyone should publish a memoir, right? Good Lord, no. Because not everyone knows how to write a publishable memoir, which means a memoir that lots of other people will enjoy reading. Sonia Pressman Fuentes, one of the founders of the National Organization for Women, published just such a memoir--"Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter." Now, in How I Got My Mink Stole, excerpted from that memoir, you can get a glimpse of exactly how good memoirs are written.

  • Weinberg's Glasses - the story of what happened when Sonia's father found a pair of eyeglasses.
  • Sex Maniac -- the story of the Second Wave of the women's movement and Fuentes' role in it.  
  • Harry Golden and "the Coat" -- Sonia Fuentes sues Harry Golden, published in Jewish Currents, June 16, 1997. 
  • How I Got My Mink Stole -- a lengthy struggle with an unexpected denouement.
  • Eating Out -- published in the April 11, 2001, issue of Writer's Bloc Online, the e-newsletter of the National Writers Union.
  • Graduating With My Class -- Fuentes' desire to graduate with her high school class has a significant consequence.  Published originally in the Catskill/Hudson Jewish Star 6.2 (June 1996) 17.1 and then on Harry Leichter's website.
  • Mother and the Night School -- published in the December 2001, issue of Kolot, A World of Jewish Voices. 
  • Catskills Stories -- Some of Fuentes' stories about her experiences in the Catskill Mountains of New York State may be found at the Museum of Family History.

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cover Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You,  The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter by Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Book Ordering Information

In the United States, EAT FIRST can be ordered in paperback and hardback from,, and  The book can be ordered from in the UK and in Canada. EAT FIRST is also available for Kindle which includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet.

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Eat First

Book Review

by Becky Barbour, Columbus, Ohio, writer and book reviewer.

June 3, 2000

EAT FIRST--YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL GIVE YOU, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter, by Sonia Pressman Fuentes is the story of an extraordinary woman at an extraordinary time in our country's history. It is the story of a five-year-old immigrant girl who came to this country with her family to escape the Holocaust and grew up to become a founder of the Second Wave of the women's movement.

Ms. Fuentes is a natural storyteller and through her tales and anecdotes we come to know her parents, her brother, and Sonia, herself. The tale begins with her father's running away from his own wedding in a small Polish town, only to be rounded up by incensed village folk determined that a wedding would take place. It moves on to Sonia's birth and the family's flight from the Nazi reign of terror in 1930s Germany, first to Belgium and then to the United States. We come to know her family through the wry humor and warm understanding of the author and feel we know them as we would our own next-door neighbors. Our heroine does, indeed, survive being a stranger in a strange land, grows up, goes to college and then law school and becomes one of the founding mothers of the National Organization for Women and a champion of women's rights in the primary government agency charged with enforcing those rights. 

Along the way, she gets married, has a child, gets divorced, raises her  daughter as a single mother, and is one of the forces for change in  women's status that sweep this country in the 1960s and '70s. Her unique family and perspective shine in these memoirs and the reader feels a kinship with her and her family's struggles, their love, and their determination because it speaks to us all of our own.