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A Girl Named Zippy (Zippy #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  28,922 Ratings  ·  3,331 Reviews
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 ...more
275 pages
Published (first published March 20th 2001)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This is a memoir of childhood days, growing up in the 1960s and 70s in the small town of Mooreland, Indiana (pop. 300). Lots of quirky or downright eccentric characters populate the town and the pages of this book. There's no real plot here; it's pretty much a collection of small town stories and anecdotes. Some of the stories involve animal neglect or abuse, the thoughtlessly cruel kinds of things that many small town people didn't consider really wrong back in the day, so sensitive readers bew ...more
Heather
Nov 09, 2007 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most enjoyable books I've ever come across. I tore through it, often laughing OUT LOUD in inopportune public places (you know, when you are reading something funny and you kind of guffaw and then catch yourself, stifle the laugh, and look around to see if anyone is watching?).

It's hard to explain what it is about, because it is really just what the subtitle says: "Growing Up Small In Mooreland, Indiana." It's an autobiographical collection of impressions, moments, memories, fu
...more
Tracyj
Dec 30, 2010 Tracyj rated it did not like it
I was really put off by the amount of animal abuse throughout the stories. No animals were spared - pets, farm animals, wild animals, animal corpses - they all got abused in Zippy's world and it was all described in a rather nonchalant matter-of-fact manner. Just when you think you're reading a story that you're safe from the horrors of an another animal meeting with cruelty at the hands of the nuts in Zippy's world, she manages to slip one in. In a story about her sister, she writes "Petey Scro ...more
Jeff
Aug 14, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Well, I have to say that I grew up one of the 300 people that lived in Mooreland. I lived there from infancy until about age 12. I wasn't friends with the author (I'm 5 years younger), but I knew who she was. My brother and the author were in the same class together, and he is actually pictured in the class photo from the book (S. Jones). There are several things that I can verify that the author wrote in the book, one that really stuck with me was the neighbor of the author, Edith, who really w ...more
Jonathan
Feb 09, 2008 Jonathan rated it liked it
[Ack -- 3 out of 5 stars seems so vague, as meaningless as ratings in general; 3 out of 5 is so ... Rolling Stone.]

Anyway, true or false: Are male memoirists seen as witty, pithy, and insightful while female memoirists are derided as self-involved or -indulgent? Food for thought, and not just pertaining to lit. I have everything in mind from Anne Lamott vs. Donald Miller to Justin Timberlake's career arc vs. Janet Jackson's relative plummet (think Super Bowl '04).

Now to this memoir about "Growin
...more
Susan
I'm done with the small amount I read of this book (25 pgs).

I stopped when Zippy and her friend took home a little piglet to nurse. When said piglet died, friend swung poor little piglet over fence to feed vicious dog.

And all the author commented on was what a perfect arc the little dead body made before it cleared the fence.

This is not something I read for my enjoyment time. Shame on the author for writing this tripe.
Suzanne
May 20, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Recommended to Suzanne by: Bennet
This memoir is 30 very short chapters, stories about Haven Kimmel’s odd family and even odder townspeople in Mooreland, Indiana, in the 1970s, a book about a little girl growing up in a very small town. It had me reaching for the tissues a few times, but not because it was sad. There were some touching episodes, but the Kleenex box came in handy for the several times I laughed so hard the tears were streaming. I was thankful I was at home each time I came to one of those passages, and not in pub ...more
Arminzerella
This is an absolutely hysterical down-home kind of memoir of Haven Kimmel’s growing up years in Mooreland, Indiana. She’s goofy and strange, and full of spunk and energy. Listen to the audiobook, which is read by the author, as she really brings her own experiences to life. She’s got a childlike innocence still that resonates in this work. The scene where her dad borrows all of the hunting dogs to get back at a cranky neighbor is truly one of the most amusing things I have ever heard. This is no ...more
Jennifer
May 20, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: grownupbooks
This is the book I reach for when I need a pick-me-up...a reminder that life is humorous and wonderful and that even the everyday moments are meaningful…that even the quietest, smallest life is worth living. Haven Kimmel's childhood memoir is more than a stroll down memory lane...she pieces together her life, her family, and her town until the reader sees her so clearly, you may feel convinced afterwards that you grew up with her! The writing is sharp, witty, and refreshingly uplifting. You will ...more
Ashley
May 06, 2008 Ashley rated it it was ok
Recommended to Ashley by: Book Group/Michelle
I had completely mixed feeling about this book. One minute I was laughing out loud (I loved the part when the cat falls down the chimney and gets drop-kicked out the front door by the nast old lady neighbor), because there are some awfully funny bits, and the next I was feeling very awkward and wanted to escape this girl's terrible environment.
What is wierdly endearing though is how she seems to be blissfully unaware/unaffected by events any one of which would have caused me some emotional scar
...more
Amber
Jan 18, 2008 Amber rated it liked it
Zippy was a mottled mess of mixed up and metastasized memories. The whole time I was reading it I kept wondering why it is that I liked it. But I did like it, despite it's obvious flaws. Any book that can make me laugh out loud is worth reading. I enjoyed the author's flippant, unceremonious style of writing. Her character, Zippy, was bright and reckless, loveable and startling all at the same time. I found it interesting how well she wrote from a teen, tween, child's perspective. I got sucked i ...more
Indra
Mar 19, 2009 Indra rated it it was amazing
I just reread this book and remembered how much I love it. I give it five stars even though I like the sequel, "She Got Up Off the Couch", a bit better...both are so very beautifully written. I love the narrator's clear-eyed child's view of the people around her, and the fact that this tells the story of a different world than most of us know, the mostly idyllic small town many years ago. Serious issues are hinted at, not avoided, but neither are they dwelled upon. I loved the characterization o ...more
Anne-Marie
Feb 08, 2010 Anne-Marie rated it did not like it
I had one of those weekends where every book I started was a complete disappointment.

This thing has been floating around my house forever and I was finally desperate enough to read it.

The first chapter or so was promising. Her parents thought maybe she was "special".

She is anything but.

I don't know, it was kind of like she was trying to pull of some David Sedaris moves and failed miserably. I had trouble even concentrating on this thing. It was disjointed and not funny. At all. She kept talkin
...more
Karin
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 ar ...more
Laurie
Oct 22, 2009 Laurie rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: noone
I did not like this book so much I threw it away rather than swap or donate. During Zippy's childhood in rural America almost every chapter/event involves animals getting killed and I'm a real animal lover. I just don't think it's funny because it came across that the value placed on these animals lives is minimal. They died in fires, from neglect, etc. so there was nothing completely intentional but I could not appreciate this story.
Desiree
Jun 07, 2008 Desiree rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who grew up in a small town or wants to know what it's like
This book is guffaw-out-loud-on-the-subway-despite-the-stares funny!!!

From the book...

"The distance between Mooreland in 1965 and a city like San Francisco in 1965 is roughly equivalent to the distance starlight must travel before we look up casually from a cornfield and see it." (From A Girl Named Zippy, p. 2.)

Haven Kimmel may be older than me but we both grew up in small towns and I found her literary musings about said life to resonate very deeply. I remember growing up in rural Maryland and
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 29, 2008 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really, really disappointed with this book (I only read half of it). I had really liked Haven Kimmel's Something Rising Light and Swift, so I thought this would be great, adn I read all sorts of great reviews for it too! But only halfway through, her memoir mentioned SO many times about animals and pets being harmed, killed, neglected, and so on... I know that in that type of lower small-town rural environment, pets are not coddled like they are today. But I found it really strange why she ...more
Jennifer
Dec 03, 2010 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Couldn't get through it. Too many stories of dead animals, maimed animals and other grotesque animal stories. Didn't strike well with the vegetarian in me...
 Erin
Nov 18, 2007 Erin rated it it was ok
This book was pleasurable enough to read, but because it wasn't very plot driven, it took me forev-ER to complete. Zippy's narration is amusing and I enjoyed her descriptions of a more innocent time of small town Americana, when farm animals were kept in backyards, and kids could ride their bikes (complete with streamers and horns) to the corner drug store for a 26 cent lemon phosphate. But beyond that, I'm not entirely sure what she was trying to convey in her memoir, and I wasn't compelled to ...more
Tamara Bennett
Jun 28, 2010 Tamara Bennett rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
occasional cute/humorous anecdotes from kind of a 'white trash' family & their small town, but interspersed w/ an unbelievable amount of animal mistreatment & abuse descriptions. quit on page 65 after the last incident - a live rabbit stapled to a wall. could not bring myself to turn the page. was afraid of what could be next. shocked that this was recommended reading & that anyone could ever get past these incidents & not be truly bothered by them.
Cristina
Sep 23, 2008 Cristina rated it it was ok
Okay so I have to be honest here...I really didn't like this book, which is strange because it seems like everyone out there that I have talked too; absolutely loves it and thinks it's hilirious. I was mostly interested in reading the book because my mom grew up in a small town in Indiana so I thought it would be fun to see some similarities in how she was raised compared to Zippy's upbringing but honestly I really struggled getting through the book. I actually would fall asleep reading it even ...more
Sterlingcindysu
Jul 13, 2016 Sterlingcindysu rated it liked it
3.5 This was my first "pool book" of the summer--you know, a paperback book you can read at the pool that you don't mind getting wet and is something you can pick up and get into quickly.

A funny book written about the same time I was growing up as well. Her comments about all the mothers taking ceramics and decoupage were exactly right! But I could sense tension between the family members and sure enough, it looks like there's a second book she's written to continue the tale.

There were parts t
...more
Linda
Sep 15, 2009 Linda rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't like animals
Recommended to Linda by: co-worker
There aren't too many books that I don't finish reading and this was one of them. I tried - I made it to 115 before I was completely disgusted and couldn't continue. Her 'cute' animal stories made me think I was reading about a future serial killer. If your pets are truly your family, do NOT read this book.
Susan
Jan 02, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
A good book about a girl's childhood in Mooreland, IN.
Katie
Sep 09, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
You know that moment in life when you realize that stories of the things that loom large in childhood -- like your absolute terror of the woman who lives next door or your absolute certainty that some of the cards in a deck of playing cards are female and some male -- can be condensed, as if through a trash compactor, into little nuggets of pure cuteness and innocence that you can then hand to others for the rest of your life in one long show-and-tell, knowing they are obligated to laugh nostalg ...more
Marie
May 14, 2009 Marie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of memoir and short stories; anyone who grew up in a small town
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
I must say that it is refreshing to read a memoir in which the author does not grow up in a dysfunctional family or face overwhelming odds in his or her life.

This is the story of a normal, small-town childhood. Zippy was an odd little creature of a child, but I found her adventures to be amusing and the descriptions of her family and neighbors to be well drawn.

I grew up in a suburb rather than a small town, one year before Haven Kimmel, so I could relate to the cultural references. (Although I'v
...more
Cynthia
Mar 12, 2008 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Michelle, Erin, Karen
Recommended to Cynthia by: book club book
I absolutely loved this book. It is a very funny, light, sweet book.

A Girl Called Zippy is a childhood memoir of Haven, aka Zippy. She tells stories from her babyhood till about 10-12 years old. She lived in a small town in Indiana with about 300 people. Unlike other biographies, it did not involve this serious tone with serious topics about death, illness, war, love, etc... Instead Zippy told oridinary, yet hilarious stories from a child's point of view. She told stories and exaggerated like a
...more
Tracey
Sep 09, 2007 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in childhood memoirs that lean more towards the amusing than the tragic.
A pass-along from my mom, I read through A Girl Named Zippy in just a few hours over the past couple of days.

A memoir along the lines of Jean Shepherd (of A Christmas Story fame), Kimmel recalls vignettes from her rather bizarre childhood in the tiny town of Mooreland, Indiana. She was "an afterthought" with siblings 10 and 13 years older than she; slow to talk (her first words -- actually a complete sentence - coming at age three) and by her own description, funny-looking. She was also quite th
...more
Antoinette
Jan 08, 2011 Antoinette rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: humorous memoir enthusiasts
Shelves: memoirs, culture
I technically come from a rural community. I had friends with farms growing up, and we certainly had plenty of pets. I don't think I was sheltered from the realities of life and death, at least not too much... So it is surprising to me that the things that kept me from truly enjoying this book involved the way animals were discussed. The little boy that was cruel to rabbits really just turned my stomach. He kept popping up from time to time and making me queasy. I guess I'm just sensitive about ...more
Donna
May 08, 2015 Donna rated it it was amazing
This would have been 4 stars, but I had to 'up it' one star because I could identify with so much of it. The author is very close to my own age, and just how she describes life and her neighbors and friends, sounded eerily familiar. It brought back memories.

This was laugh out loud funny in some parts. It was hard to control the laughter in public. I will caution animal lovers out there: there is a fair amount of animal cruelty in this. The author handles it as delicately as possible and adds hum
...more
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Play Book Tag: A Girl Named Zippy 4 stars 10 17 Apr 22, 2016 06:03PM  
My Review of Zippy 6 167 Nov 28, 2011 02:28PM  
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Haven Kimmel was born in New Castle, Indiana, and was raised in Mooreland, Indiana, the focus of her bestselling memoir, A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana .

Kimmel earned her undergraduate degree in English and creative writing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and a graduate degree from North Carolina State University, where she studied with novelist Lee Smith.
...more
More about Haven Kimmel...

Other Books in the Series

Zippy (2 books)
  • She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana

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“I later discovered that in order to be a good athlete one must care intensely what is happening with a ball, even if one doesn't have possession of it. This was ultimately my failure: my inability to work up a passion for the location of balls.” 64 likes
“That cat doesn't have a lick of sense,' I said, sighing.

Well, honey, he's not right in the head,' Dad said, flipping his cigarette into the front yard.

I glared at him. 'And just what do you mean by that?'

Dad counted on his fingers. 'He's cross-eyed; he jumps out of trees after birds and then doesn't land on his feet; he sleeps with his head smashed up against the wall, and the tip of his tail is crooked.'

Oh yeah? Well, how about this: he once got locked in a basement by evil Petey Scroggs in the middle of January and survived on snow and little frozen mice. When I'm cold at night he sleeps right on my face. Of that whole litter of kittens he came out of he's the only one left. One of his brothers didn't even have a butthole.'

I stand corrected. PeeDink is a survivor.”
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