Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

Growing Up Small in Moreland Indiana
Author: Haven Kimmel
Publisher-Format: Doubleday  (2002), Edition: 282 pages
Subject: life in small town midwest American
Setting: Moreland Indiana
Source: my own shelves

For some reason, this book got withdrawn from our local library, and I grabbed if off the sale table for $1 and took it home....not that the story was jumping at me, but the cover captivated me.  It reminded me so much of a baby picture of one of my sisters.  It sat for awhile until I picked it up to see if it was worth putting into my personal collection.  Once I started it, I found it a quick, easy, enjoyable read.  I also found it on audio, narrated by the author, so I could listen to snatches of it while I was swimming. Zippy is a precocious child, the youngest, in the family, who chose not to speak until almost the age of three, at which time she began with a very adult form of vocabulary and grammar.  Her observations about life are amusing, refreshing, enchanting.

Presented in a series of not always connected vignettes, Kimmel gives us a picture of simple, uncomplicated, untechnical life in the 1950s and 60s, growing up with a mother who is physically present, but mentally off in the land of her books (she seems to have lived almost permanently reclining on the sofa), and a father who could provide a seemingly coherent answer to just about any curious question Zippy dreamed up. Her observations on Jesus and organized religion will have you howling. They are funny without being sacriligious, and insightful far beyond the normal level of an 8-10 year old. There are several other stories written by Kimmel, and I'm definitely planning to explore them.

It's a book to savor, a book to read again, and definitely one to have on the shelf.  If you see it on the sale shelf, grab it.  It's a winner.


  1. I've seen this everywhere and like you, have been drawn to the cover. But I never felt enough of a connection to pick it up until now. Great review!

  2. I've also been captivated by the cover but didn't even consider reading the book until now. It sounds delightful.


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