Coudert, Jo 1923–

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Coudert, Jo 1923–

PERSONAL:

Surname is pronounced "Coo-dare"; born March 14, 1923, in Williamsport, PA; daughter of John (a restaurateur) and Jane (a restaurateur) Coudert; married Eugene H. Clay (divorced). Education: Attended Smith College, 1940-42. Politics: Liberal. Religion: "Atheist." Hobbies and other interests: Painting.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Califon, NJ. Agent—Richard Parks, 138 E. 16th St., New York, NY 10003.

CAREER:

Writer, c. 1963—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Maxwell Anderson Award for the play Night Games.

WRITINGS:

The I Never Cooked Before Cookbook, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1963.

Advice from a Failure, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1965.

The Alcoholic in Your Life, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1972.

GoWell: The Story of a House, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1974.

(With Yvonne S. Thornton) The Ditchdigger's Daughters: A Black Family's Astonishing Success Story, Carol Publishing (Secaucus, NJ), 1995.

(And illustrator) Seven Cats and the Art of Living, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Yvonne S. Thornton) Woman to Woman: A Leading Gynecologist Tells You All You Need to Know about Your Body and Your Health, Dutton (New York, NY), 1997.

The Good Shepherd: A Special Dog's Gift of Healing, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1998.

Author of the plays Burnscape, produced in New York, NY, by Eccentric Circles Theater Company; A Funny Old Wife, produced in New Hope, PA, at Phillips Mill Theater; Night Games, produced in New York, NY, by York Theater Company, and in Connecticut, Florida, and Georgia; and Richard Comes Wednesday, produced in New York, NY, at Thirteenth Street Theater. Contributor to magazines, including Women's Day, McCall's, Ladies' Home Journal, Parents' Magazine, and Reader's Digest.

ADAPTATIONS:

The Ditchdigger's Daughters was adapted for television by the Family Channel and broadcast in 1997.

SIDELIGHTS:

A number of Jo Coudert's books focus on health and healing. Woman to Woman: A Leading Gynecologist Tells You All You Need to Know about Your Body and Your Health, written with Yvonne S. Thornton, a senior perinatologist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, is a straight-forward resource about women's reproductive health, based upon information gleaned from Thornton's years of practice in obstetrics and gynecology and her role as a professor in that clinical specialty. Designed to assist and empower women in understanding their bodies and being knowledgeable and responsible about their own health care, Woman to Woman presents topics that include examinations and treatments, contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, breast and bottle feeding of babies, diseases, menopause, and how to evaluate a physician and a hospital. This guide is "as clear as they come," commented a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, who found the information in it "delivered in a respectful and intelligent professional manner."

Two other books solely written by Coudert examine the role of pets in people's lives beyond the animals' function as basic companions to humans. In Seven Cats and the Art of Living, which she also illustrated, Coudert imparts moral lessons learned and insights gained from seven separate pet cats that she observed closely through the years.

The second animal-based book also stems from a true story. The Good Shepherd: A Special Dog's Gift of Healing is Coudert's inspirational book about a remarkable German shepherd, Grizzly, and the impact this dog had on the lives of his two owners as well as on many physically and emotionally ill children. Coudert relates how Grizzly stood close by his teenage owner, Jeremy, during the boy's fight against and death from cancer, and later supported the recovery of Lana, Jeremy's mother, from grief and suicidal thoughts after her son's death. In the book, Coudert explains how Lana later founded two animal-assisted therapy associations that arrange for the owners of specially trained pets to take the animals on visits to health-care facilities and comfort sick children. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly deemed The Good Shepherd an "absorbing report" that was "smoothly written."

Coudert and Thornton also wrote The Ditchdigger's Daughters: A Black Family's Astonishing Success Story. This is a history of Thornton's immediate family. It traces how her father Donald, a poor, uneducated New Jersey ditchdigger, worked hard at two jobs to ensure that his daughters would have a better life, by gaining an education and achieving independence and professional success. Battling financial hardships, Donald still managed to arrange music lessons for the girls, who eventually formed the Thornton Sisters band. The band performed at many college campuses in the East, and its earnings enabled the girls to attend college. Although just two of the daughters fulfilled Donald's original dream that they all become physicians, each enjoyed success in their chosen professions. "This picture by Thornton and Coudert … is a tribute to an extraordinary father," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, who also called the book a "loving memoir."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Publishers Weekly, April 17, 1995, review of The Ditchdigger's Daughters: A Black Family's Astonishing Success Story, p. 47; May 19, 1997, review of Woman to Woman: A Leading Gynecologist Tells You All You Need to Know about Your Body and Your Health, p. 73; September 7, 1998, review of The Good Shepherd: A Special Dog's Gift of Healing, p. 73.

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Coudert, Jo 1923–

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