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.
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From Publishers Weekly
It's a cliche to say that a good memoir reads like a well-crafted work of fiction, but Kimmel's smooth, impeccably humorous prose evokes her childhood as vividly as any novel. Born in 1965, she grew up in Mooreland, Ind., a place that by some "mysterious and powerful mathematical principle" perpetually retains a population of 300, a place where there's no point learning the street names because it's just as easy to say, "We live at the four-way stop sign." Hers is less a formal autobiography than a collection of vignettes comprising the things a small child would remember: sick birds, a new bike, reading comics at the drugstore, the mean old lady down the street. The truths of childhood are rendered in lush yet simple prose; here's Zippy describing a friend who hates wearing girls' clothes: "Julie in a dress was like the rest of us in quicksand." Over and over, we encounter pearls of third-grade wisdom revealed in a child's assured voice: "There are a finite number of times one can safely climb the same tree in a single day"; or, regarding Jesus, "Everyone around me was flat-out in love with him, and who wouldn't be? He was good with animals, he loved his mother, and he wasn't afraid of blind people." (Mar.)Forecast: Dreamy and comforting, spiced with flashes of wit, this book seems a natural for readers of the Oprah school of women's fiction (e.g., Elizabeth Berg, Janet Fitch). The startling baby photograph on the cover should catch browsers' eyes.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The title is awful, but Kimmel's childhood memoir rings true. Mooreland had a population of about 300, small enough for a grade-school girl to explore every corner and have strong opinions about the town's adults. More important, however, than the mean old lady across the street and the loud old man at the drugstore were Kimmel's family (parents, older brother and sister, and various pets) and the "best friends" with whom she experienced her small world. Kimmel remembers vividly what it felt like to be a kid: the pleasure of being outdoors; the unquestioned bonds of a "best" friendship; and the oddness of many of the things adults (and teenagers) do. Even in the 1960s and 1970s (Kimmel was born in 1965), Mooreland escaped the larger society's disruptions. An empty store was a Ku Klux Klan headquarters in the 1920s, but there were no African Americans around town; a pair of hippies moved in and offered Zippy a chance to give her dad a valued present.
Mary Carroll Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Library Journal
In this first book, Kimmel has written a love letter to her hometown of Mooreland, IN, a town with an unchanging population of 300 in America's heartland. Nicknamed "Zippy" for her energetic interpretation of a circus monkey, she could not be bothered to speak until she was three years old, and her first words involved bargaining with her father about whether or not a baby bottle was still appropriate. Born in 1965, Zippy lived in a world filled with a loving family, peculiar neighbors, and multitudes of animals, including a chicken she loved and treated like a baby. Her story is filled with good humor, fine storytelling, and acute observations of small town life. Recommended for libraries in the Midwest or with large memoir collections.
Pam Kingsbury, Alabama Humanities Fdn., Florence Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From the Back Cover:
"Almost dreamlike in some of [her] elusive storytelling, [Kimmel] pulls off a feat that’s harder than it looks: write for adults from a child’s perspective . . . Zippy's parents must have done something right to produce a girl who could write such a simple and lovely book."
"A Girl Named Zippy seems to be about the cleverest . . . memoir ever. [Kimmel is] a born storyteller . . . I imagine everyone in the world would be grateful for Kimmel’s book."
"Very engaging, funny . . . it could be a cheerier version of the Leechfield, Texas, Mary Karr chronicled in The Liar’s Club, if drunks never got ugly and if fathers never took a belt to their kids."
"Delightfully wry (and sometimes laugh-out-loud-funny)."
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Book Description Broadway Books, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0091882966