One of my favorite books a few years ago was A Girl Named Zippy, the prequel to this book, Haven “Zippy” Kimmel’s follow up memoir. I am delighted toOne of my favorite books a few years ago was A Girl Named Zippy, the prequel to this book, Haven “Zippy” Kimmel’s follow up memoir. I am delighted to say that this book is equally as funny and touching, but also a little deeper in its examination of the some of the fallout of a mother struggling to find herself in the women’s movement of the early 70’s.
When last we left Delonda Kimmel she was riding a bicycle, her first step off the couch where she had spent the last twenty years of her life, reading, watching TV and gaining a lot of weight. This book picks up right from that point, as Delonda takes a competency exam and gets into Ball College, where she graduates in two years, loses one hundred pounds, gets a Master’s Degree and becomes a teacher- all without any emotional support from her husband. Zippy manages to go through life, if not oblivious to the turmoil in her family, definitely with an optimistic and quirky view of her unconventional upbringing. Despite living in poverty and often neglected by both her parents Zippy found safe haven with the families of her friends and her older sister, all pitching in to help raise this child. Not once does she offer a word of recrimination towards her mother and father, but imbues this story with all the love a child feels for her parents.
As Zippy begins to understand that her parents’ marriage is slowly unraveling she again expertly portrays the feelings of anxiety and bewilderment a young teen feels as her home life slowly comes apart, but also opens as she realizes all the possibilities there are in the world as she begins to understand what it took for her mother to reinvent herself. Delonda also begins to open Zippy’s eyes to the opportunities there were available outside of their small town. The ending of the book brought tears to my eyes as Zippy comes to understand that even those you love most in life can disappoint you. A lovely memoir that doesn’t cast the people around her as cruel but as what we all are, flawed, despite our very best intentions.