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A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
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A Girl Named Zippy (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Haven Kimmel

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2,028773,301 (3.86)88
Member:lowie35
Title:A Girl Named Zippy
Authors:Haven Kimmel
Info:Broadway (2002), Paperback, 275 pages
Collections:Favorites
Rating:****
Tags:read 2012, memoir, Indiana, small town, humor, childhood, family

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A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel (2001)

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Haven Kimmel, born in 1965, grew up in Mooreland, Indiana, population 300. Born funny looking, not talking until she was nearly three, she was constantly zipping around the house, thus her nickname, Zippy. She takes us back not just to a different time, but a place not many have grown up in; a very small town, or as Canadians would call it, a village. Growing up a Jarvis, she was not only precocious, but the daughter of a man who was a real character. This is a memoir, so naturally some parts are embellished, but with humour and insightful observations in a way that helps paint a clear picture through the eyes of the child she was at that time rather than including a great deal of re-interpreting from her adult perspective.

This memoir, Kimmel’s debut book, was a New York Times bestseller, and I can see why. I can’t say that I loved everything about her story telling to the point of giving it five stars, but I do have to say that, unlike most memoirs, I really enjoyed it. There was honesty behind it, and while I hardly expect someone to remember their early childhood the way a camera might have recorded it—even adults aren’t capable of that—having grown up in a community so small that everyone knew what I’d done whether I’d actually done it or not, I could relate to that part of it. And her relationship with her friend, Julie, reminded me of that of my dad and his best friend when he grew up in a small town on the Canadian prairies, where one does all the talking for the both of them. I am planning on reading her other memoir. ( )
  Karin7 | Apr 21, 2016 |
I enjoyed this. Having spent some years living in a small town while growing up, I could relate to much of the town dynamics. I liked how Kimmel was able to describe her experiences from the perspective of youth. It was delightful, and again I could relate to some of her youthful "reasoning" and choices. I think character development was good, particularly for the parents and "Zippy".

I'd recommend this as a light, easy read. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
The writing in this book is so much fun. For me that was really the best thing about it. (Strangely enough, I liked it better in print than on audio, even though it's narrated by the author; maybe it was the staticky recording of the Playaway, but it just sounded dry and not so interesting that way.)
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Audiobook narrated by the author. I would have enjoyed this more if I had read it instead of listening. The author read in a kind of monotone that had me drifting off and then having to rewind to catch what I missed. Otherwise what I did get was quite humorous in a down-home way. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This is a memoir of a happy, if imperfect, childhood. Kimmel has a gift for putting the reader into the mind of an 8-year-old.

We learn about the evil old lady across the street, the pharmacist who can't be bothered with kids reading comic books in his store, the horrible neighbors with a sadistic son, beloved pets (chicken love), the freedom of riding your bike all over town (without touching the handlebars), favorite teachers, dreaded band leaders, best friends, schoolyard fights and the miracle of Christmas. But mostly we glimpse small-town life viewed from the safety of a loving (if unconventional) family.

I love this girl named Zippy. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 24, 2016 |
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Epigraph
So is there no fact, no event, in our private history,, which shall not, sooner or later, lose its adhesive, inert form, and astonish us by souring from our body into the empyrean? Cradle and infancy, school and playground, the fear of boys, and dogs, and ferules, the love of little maids and verries, and many another facts that once filled the whole sky, are gone already; friend and relative, profession and party, town and country, nation and world, must also soar and sing. --Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Soldier
Dedication
For my mother and my sister
For absent friends
First words
If you look at an atlas of the United States, one published around, say, 1940, there is, in the state of Indiana, north of New Castle and east of the Epileptic Village, a small town called Mooreland.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0767915054, Paperback)

When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period–people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.

Laced with fine storytelling, sharp wit, dead-on observations, and moments of sheer joy, Haven Kimmel's straight-shooting portrait of her childhood gives us a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and sly as she navigates the quirky adult world that surrounds Zippy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The author offers a chronicle of growing up in a small town in America's heartland, offering portraits of her family and her encounters with the complexities of the adult world, romance, and small-town life during the 1960s and 1970s.

(summary from another edition)

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