Auntie Jodi’s Helpful Hints is a humorous advice book that is available on Amazon. The Portland Authors Examiner had a chance to talk to Aunt Jodi herself about her book and banned books.
Portland Authors Examiner: Who are some of your favorite banned authors?
Auntie Jodi: It’s so interesting to look at lists of banned books—where and when the books are published makes such a huge difference in attitude. That being said—Auntie Jodi’s favorite banned books are:
· Louise Fitzhugh (she wrote Harriet the Spy)—when I found out this brilliant book had been banned—I was shocked. I loved Harriet the Spy, and as a little girl must have read and reread this book a half dozen times. Most of us are a little bit lonely growing up, and to have this book document that—was huge for me. Perhaps this book influenced me to become a reporter (that’s spying isn’t it?).
· The Bible—so many wonderful parables for our lives—whether you believe in God or not—it’s interesting as literature and as a guide for life—why would this cause a ban? Let people read and decide for themselves.
· Mark Twain (numerous titles) Huckleberry Finn—one of my favorite childhood books about friendship. When I read it, I was shocked by the use of the N-word—that word has always been banned in my world—but their adventures and friendship were so much fun to read about—it was a vicarious history trip.
Portland Authors Examiner: What will you be doing to celebrate banned book week?
Auntie Jodi: Well, Auntie Jodi is a reformed bookworm, so I think she’ll be reading a banned book or two—starting with rereading passages from the list of favorites—and then cracking open a banned book Auntie has not yet read—maybe Fanny Hill or Peyton Place.
Portland Authors Examiner: Why do you think anyone would want to ban a book?
Auntie Jodi: Banning anything is about control, isn’t it? In our world today, most oppressive political regimes ban books to keep the population from demanding freedom—Authors are actually freedom fighters. You know, the pen is mightier than the sword idea.
Portland Authors Examiner: What is Auntie Jodi’s Helpful Hints about?
Auntie Jodi: To quote a reader, “Auntie Jodi’s Helpful Hints is brassy, sassy, and classy” It’s about looking at all the craziness around us and finding a humorous way to deal with all of the wackiness. A fan told me she likes Auntie Jodi’s Helpful Hints because: it’s fun, upbeat, relevant and practical. Auntie is a combination of Ask Amy/Dear Abby, Auntie Mame, and Dorothy Parker—she pulls no punches and tells the truth—plus in our p.c. world, being politely non-p.c. can be dangerous these days.
Here’s a hint as an example: “No matter what language you speak, smug never translates into funny. Unless, of course, you are performing for an audience of one.”
Portland Authors Examiner: What inspired you to write it?
Auntie Jodi: Auntie Jodi is my “out-there” alter ego. Now some people may think I’m already “out-there,” but—now don’t be shocked—I actually hold back—Auntie does not. This is how Auntie Jodi’s Helpful Hints began: I was at a party, and someone asked me my astrological sign—so I just told them the first sign that popped into my head. And this dear soul told me how they “knew” that was my sign because of my behavior. Of course I was pulling their leg—then I winked, and said I was kidding and told her my “real” sign (kidding again) and she went on and on about how my kidding behavior was part of the makeup of my “real/fictional” sign. Auntie looks at the absurdity around us, and twists the situation a bit—She’s a standup and commentator for people who want to laugh at life’s little (and big) issues.