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

Eat FirstBook Review

by Nadia M. Cornier,

August 19, 2003

Sometimes its as if our role as women in society has been decided and marked in stone before we even have a chance to carve it out for ourselves. Our roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister and more recently as a member of the working class are almost rigid in their need to define how we feel about ourselves and as they are about how we define one another.

On one hand, we should each commit to our own ideal and self-defining concepts ヨ unfortunately this isnメt the way it is. Instead we try to shape ourselves into convoluted molds that society has given us. The ones that our mothers have unwittingly handed down to us.

In reading a memoir by Sonia Pressman Fuentes entitled Eat First ヨ You Donメt Know What Theyメll Give You I was able to see a woman who grappled with the same issues that we all fight with. How do we define ourselves as women while still staying true to our roles as Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, and Worker? In fact, Ms. Fuentes added several more roles to her list: not only is she all of the above, but she is also Jewish, the daughter of immigrants, and a feminist.

The milestones of her impressive career are detailed in her text, but what is most important about her book ヨ and the reason I would recommend it to all budding feminists and all women in general ヨ is that itメs more than a story of a womanメs struggle to meet the obligations of her roles. Itメs that, too, of course ヨ as any text written by a female is bound to be. But itメs not just that. Itメs also a story of love, affection, family, hopes and dreamsナand itメs funny. Sonia Fuentesメ natural voice is so wonderful that we cannot help but imagine that we are her charmed friends, sitting around with cups of tea, while she tells us intimate details of her life. A life that was worth living because it was filled with the love and laughter that we should all hope to have for ourselves.

What does this mean to the feminists that read a memoir of one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women, and the first female attorney in the General Counselメs Office at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? This means that Sure, you are a mother. You are a wife, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a writer, a worker, a feminist, perhaps a disciple. You can be all these things ヨ they do not define who you are as much as the people you have loved and shared your life and laughter with. This is more than who we are and what are roles are. Ms. Fuentesメ book should be a marked reference guide within all of our libraries for what we hope for ourselves: her roles ナeven feminismナ did not rule her life, but only added to it.