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 FirstA Fascinating Memoir

by H.M. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Whole Living Journal

March-April 2005


Most of the chapters are short anecdotes that provide insight into the life of an immigrant family.  The author's self-deprecating style underplays the significant role she played in upgrading the status of women. It also exposes the strong family pressures she suffered to marry and have children in spite of the fact that she was a very bright girl. Fuentes was the first woman lawyer hired by the General Council Office at the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and she was one of the founders of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

Her tales are more than informative. They provide a warm understanding of her parents' overprotective behaviors and her brother's arrogant chauvinism. Fuentes' life experiences demonstrate the powerful force humor played in allowing her to gain perspective and mastery over the challenges she faced.

The author's story begins in a small Polish town. The reader follows her family's journey to escape the Holocaust, first going to Berlin, then to Belgium, and finally on to the United States.

When she arrived in the United States, Fuentes was five years old. Her mother learned English quickly and became both interpreter and secretary to her illiterate husband in his prosperous business dealings. Fuentes wore glasses and was asthmatic, which made her feel even more of an outcast than her immigrant status did. Fortunately, her exceptional scholastic abilities easily opened doors to higher educational achievements. She finally found full family approval at the age of 42 when she married.

This is not only a humorous book of tales, but also an informative one, with a strong emphasis on justice. Women who lived through the battles of World War II and the turbulent 1960s will especially enjoy Fuentes' stories. Men and those who enjoy the human rights achieved during this period also will find it a riveting read.

About the reviewer: H.M. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., retired from her nursing career in 1976 and retired again in 1986 from teaching parapsychology and self-development courses at a community college.