Bolinas woman releases novel

10/03/2013

Bolinas resident Sadja Greenwood, a retired physician whom readers may know from a monthly health column published in these pages, last month released her first novel, a cautionary tale that is both personal and political, set in mid-century America. Ms. Greenwood’s protagonist, an East Coast medical student who draws her adventures in part from the author’s own past, has “come under the influence of a brilliant and domineering guy.” Claire’s bohemian life, sexual exploration and struggle to free herself from her partner’s persuasive intellect, as well as an unwanted pregnancy and an illegal abortion, follow. A turning point comes after the death of one of her patients who fell victim to a bungled abortion. The author’s mother—an early feminist who drove an ambulance during WWI and helped women seeking to terminate their pregnancies in the 1930’s—also figures in the book, albeit “in disguise,” said Ms. Greenwood, who has worked with Planned Parenthood and the University of California, San Francisco. The author began her book in the 1990’s in a small weekly writing group; she later stashed it away, only to bring it out again “when the radical right became so coercive about abortion and contraception rights,” she said. Changing the Rules: A Young Woman’s Journey to Find Her Calling is available at Point Reyes Books and Amazon.