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. 

This review appeared in the Book Club section of

January 2000

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF & YOUR READING HABITS: I read mostly science fiction/fantasy (pure escapism), also women's studies/feminist  theory and literature, poetry, the occasional best seller.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A BOOK: One that will keep my interest, that I can feel empathy with and learn something from.

TITLE OF BOOK: EAT FIRST--YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL GIVE YOU The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter 

AUTHOR: Sonia Pressman Fuentes

PAGES/PUBLISHER/COPYRIGHT DATE: 338 pages, publisher: XLibris Corporation, Copyright 1999.

GENRE: autobiography

WHAT IS STORY ABOUT (PLOT): It is the story of a young girl and her family escaping the Nazis in 1930's Germany, immigrating to the United States and her life and times growing up and becoming one of the founders of the National Organization for Women and in the forefront of the Women's Movement.

WHAT I FOUND COMPELLING ABOUT IT (CHARACTERS, IDEAS, WRITING STYLE, ETC.): Through Ms. Pressman Fuentes' anecdotes about her family  and their life, one feels like you know them; as if they could be your next-door neighbors. 

HOW IT MADE ME FEEL: I smiled a lot at the eccentricities of her family, especially about her father and a warmth at the humanness within each family's uniqueness.

CAUTIONS (HARD TO GET INTO, DIFFICULT WORDS, HARD DIALOGUE, ETC.): None (Ms Pressman Fuentes even explains the Yiddish words she uses throughout the book for the non-Jewish reader).

WHAT KIND OF READER MIGHT LIKE THIS BOOK: Anyone who is interested in learning about the immigrant experience, European and assimilated American Jewish culture, but especially women interested in the her story of the new wave of the Women's Movement in the 1970's and learning more about one of the founding mothers.


ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD (PURCHASING INFO, FIRST PARAGRAPH, FIRST PAGE, BACK COVER BLURB, WHATEVER ELSE!): In short, Ms. Fuentes is an extraordinary woman in extraordinary times in this country.  Her unique family and perspective shines in this autobiography 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.

Copyright (c) 2000 Becky Barbour