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 C. Penn "WordWeaving" (Greenville, SC) at

March 15, 2002

5.0 out of 5 starsVery highly recommended

As the first woman lawyer in the General Counsel's office at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965, Sonia Pressman Fuentes always intended to write her life story. The tone and direction of her tale, however, shifted dramatically one day over coffee with another author/editor. Rather than the scholarly tome originally envisioned, the novel evolved to a humorous, personal account of Fuentes' family, her life, and her place in history.

Beginning with an account of her father running away from marriage, EAT FIRST follows her parents' marriage through the difficult decision to leave their home and business in Germany as the events leading to the Holocaust began to unfold. Eventually coming to the United States, Fuentes describes herself as a "bespectacled, asthmatic child of older, immigrant parents in a new country." Humor became a coping device - a gift she has honed to a fine edge, providing the novel a light, entertaining tone that carries throughout the pages. Wonderful vignettes such as how her father earned a B+ for saving her sewing disaster and her mother's love of night school, but sacrificing that love for her family, result in a strong, compelling narrative.

Following her high school graduation, Fuentes earns a scholarship to Cornell, despite her father's opinion that too much education can be a bad thing. As her family pressured for marriage and children, Fuentes found her way to law school instead. Graduation with a law degree did not lead to a number of folks offering work, however, and the next few years provided the impetus for Fuentes' involvement in women's issues. At the age of forty-two she finally fulfilled her family's dreams for her to be married, soon having a child as well. A later divorce in no way seems to have negated her family's approval to finally have her married, and her determination to have a child will keep readers entertained.

Author Sonia Pressman Fuentes presents her memoirs in EAT FIRST--YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL GIVE YOU, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter. With an intense awareness of her place in history, in terms of family relations, career, and self-realization, Fuentes reveals her immigrant background, her involvement in Women's Rights, and her love for family. A woman who blazes her own unorthodox path, this remarkably self-honest memoir is a must read for all. Her extraordinary gift for an enthralling narrative and lively personality brings the text a life and vibrancy that will live in the reader's memory long after the last page is turned. EAT FIRST belongs on everyone's keeper shelf.