Sonia Pressman Fuentes

  • -
  • Book Reviews
  • Book Excerpts
  • Buy the Book

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.

Buy the Book

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.

Buy from

Eat First

Sonia Fuentes Has Come a Long Way

Miami Magazine, Fall 2000

Imagine having changed the course of history.  Sonia Pressman Fuentes (LL.B. '57), one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) along with Betty Friedan and others, actually did.  

Fuentes relates her historic role in the women's movement in a humorous, inspiring memoir, Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You.  Subtitled The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter, the book tells of Fuentes' journey, after escaping from the Holocaust at age five with her family, through her education and pioneering legal career.  Along the way, she became the first woman attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the highest-paid woman at the headquarters of two multinational corporations.

Fuentes did not follow the typical path of women in the 1950s and 1960s.  Her parents, like most people of their time, believed women should marry and have families.  Instead, Fuentes attended Cornell University and the University of Miami School of Law, where she graduated first in her class.  

Fuentes credits law professor Minnette Massey (B.B.A. '48, LL.B. '51, M.A. '52) with putting her on the right career track.  Massey arranged for Fuentes to interview with the U.S. Department of Labor.  As a result, she was hired by the federal government and moved to Washington, D.C.

The rest, literally, is history, and Fuentes' book is filled with anecdotes of her personal and professional struggles.  Her story could have been told in anger or bitterness, but that's not Fuentes' personal, or literary, style.  "It's my way of looking at life," she says.  "My life wasn't funny.  I just tell it that way."

Today "retired," Fuentes divides her time between Potomac, Maryland, and Sarasota, Florida, and is in demand as a public speaker.

Does Fuentes have advice for women today?  "I don't have separate advice for women," she says.  "My advice for anybody is, if you're lucky and you can find a cause bigger than yourself that will make your life meaningful, do it.  It's wonderful if you're caught up on something larger than your own little life."

She should know.

This review appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of Miami Magazine, for alumni and friends of the University of Miami.