Eat First - You Don't Know What
They'll Give You
(XLibris Corporation, 1999), 340 pp., pbk. $22.99.
Reviewed by H.M. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Whole Living Journal, March-April, 2005.
THIS BOOK IS A FASCINATING MEMOIR.
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
Copyright © 2006 Judy Cohen, all rights