BRATTLEBORO -- Robin Westen admits most people in town, even neighbors, only know her as the wife of octogenarian jazz cornet player and President Emeritus of the Vermont Jazz Center, Howard Brofsky.
What they don’t know is that Westen is the author of 10 books including a best-selling YA biography of Oprah Winfrey, an Emmy Award-winning television writer, frequent contributor of feature articles for national magazines including Glamour, MORE, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and medical director for thirdage.com, the largest women’s health boomer site on the web. But Westen’s stealth in Brattleboro is about to change.
On Friday at 6 p.m., Everyone’s Books hosts a reading by Westen and her co-author OB/GYN Alyssa Dweck from their new book "V is for Vagina." Their book delivers the good, the bad, and the time-for-the-pharmacy truths -- even about subjects women might be too embarrassed to discuss with their gynecologist. Topics are at times controversial but written about in an easy-to-read, conversational style, making the book the go-to guide. The authors hope to remove some of the mystery and taboo surrounding many gynecologic issues in a humorous and chatty, but medically sound and up-to-date manner.
During the interactive reading, Dr. Dweck will answer questions. The authors will pass out cards so the audience can query anonymously. Westen will discuss
Westen points out that this is a pivotal time for women’s health. A few months ago two female state representatives were banned from speaking on the Michigan house floor for invoking the word "vagina" during a floor debate about abortion. A few weeks ago, Todd Akin, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, made the claim that women victims of what he described as "legitimate" rape rarely experience pregnancy from the rape.
Half the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Fistula Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of and funding for obstetric fistula treatment, prevention and education programs worldwide.