This book is a hoot. A judge, Margaret, is having trouble with her marriage, her superior on the bench, and her mind. An incident in her courtroom at the beginning of a very special hearing on a very special issue sets her off and she has a rather spectacular melt-down. In lieu of getting debarred and thrown off the bench, she is offered a deal where she must go into therapy and get a form signed by the head shinkaroo certifying that she is well and competent once more.
She feels she had ample grounds for her upsetment in the courtroom, and that she doesn’t need therapy, but the only way to get back on the bench is to take the deal. Upon arriving home one day, she finds an envelope addressed to her, no address, no stamp, obviously hand delivered. She opens it, unleashing a shower of multicolored paper stars onto her lap and carpet. The piece of paper inside read:
Greetings!!!! How do you DO? The underwritten HEREIN, Margaret Anne Hamerton-Simpary is Cordially Invited to the States’ PREMIER full-service Institution! Come join us at Aunty Ida’s for a lightning of your mental troubles!!!!! BY INVITATION ONLY!!!!!!! Univitationed persons WILL NOT GAIN ADMITTAGE. With Fondness and All That, Aunty Ida.
Figuring she can weasel this person, whoever Aunty Ida is, into signing her form, she goes in search of the place.
So up to this point, that’s the sanest part of the book.
Aunty Ida has invented (developed? Experimented with?) cloaking devices which hide her establishment from view, holographic work which produces whole towns, and a house which adjusts its decor automatically to suit the ‘patient’. At the institution, there is a wonderful cook, who is there cooking for everyone because he, well, used to poison people, you know. Aunty Ida insists that Margaret visited her in a dream and made the arrangements for her treatment, during which time they discussed all kinds of things which Margaret does not remember.
There are strange ‘treatments’, guided meditation which goes awry, teleportation, and all kinds of ‘spooky action at a distance’. There are twists, connections and conspiracies. There is a happy ending. Weird, but happy.
Quirky, fun, and definitely unconventional, this is a book to make you smile, and be glad you don’t live in her world.
I think there is a new adventure of Aunty Ida out now, Aunty Ida’s Holey [sic] Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended). And the author has some other fun titles, too: The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management, and Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, and Her Cousin, Much Removed.