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A Girl Named Zippy

(Zippy #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  35,213 ratings  ·  3,883 reviews
When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965 in Mooreland, Indiana, it 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 inno ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published 2001 by Doubleday
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Nancy Wilson I loved this book. I’ve also read her book She Got Up Off the Couch and enjoyed it also. She sounds exactly what I was like as a child.

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Aug 14, 2013 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
Dec 28, 2010 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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
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I should probably leave well enough alone and not post any sort of review regarding little Zippy, but I’m not gonna. I’ve been seeing this title pop up on various lists and whatnot for YEARS now and always managed to avoid it due to the eternal question I ask myself whenever I see a memoir written by a non-famous person: “WTF was so special about you that you think everyone else wants to read about it???” But then the dang thing ca
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

This memoir by Haven Kimmel - who was nicknamed 'Zippy' by her dad - contains wonderful stories about the author's childhood in Mooreland, Indiana. Haven was born in 1965, when Mooreland had a population of 300 and contained one main street and one four-way stop sign. The town also featured a gas station; a drugstore (with a soda fountain but no drugs); a diner; a hardware store, a verterinarian; and three churches. The highlight of Mooreland's year was the annual carnival, and many res
Nov 08, 2007 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
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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I've never read a memoir that made me laugh so much. Interesting view of what it is like to grow up in a small town.

What an odd and quirky family. Zippy is intelligent but let's say, a different, little girl -- who obviously grows up just fine despite her childhood escapades.

My only disappointment was in the ending but I guess I wanted it to end more like a fictional tale.

Who can resist a book with this cover?
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.
Jan 12, 2008 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
May 17, 2007 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
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
May 01, 2008 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
Oct 22, 2009 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. ...more
Mar 17, 2015 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
Feb 21, 2008 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
Dec 01, 2007 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
Jan 19, 2010 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
Jun 04, 2008 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
Tamara L Bennett
Jun 28, 2010 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. ...more
Dec 03, 2010 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... ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pure reading delight.
Haven Kimmel manages to achieve two great feats with her memoir of growing up "small" in a small Hoosier town -- she captures the voice of childhood and all its contradicting, hilarious perspectives and experiences, writing a memoir that shows more than tells readers about growing up in her town in the '60s and '70s. She also writes about a lifestyle that almost doesn't exist anymore in an environment that has sadly begun to permanently fade into the past. The privilege of
(3.5) Maybe you grew up in or near a town like Mooreland, Indiana (population 300), a place full of real characters, not least the members of Kimmel’s family. Born in 1965 when her brother and sister were 13 and 10, Kimmel was affectionately referred to as an “Afterthought” and nicknamed “Zippy” for her boundless energy. Gawky and stubborn, she pulled every trick in the book to try to get out of going to Quaker meetings three times a week, preferring to go fishing with her father. It took about ...more
Sep 16, 2007 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
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
The first 1/4th of this book was laugh out loud funny. The rest was sort of scattered and a bit boring. I really liked Haven though--her personality really comes through and it's hilarious. ...more
Aug 23, 2009 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
May 04, 2009 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
Sep 09, 2008 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
Nov 21, 2015 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
Feb 09, 2014 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
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a series of light, sweet vignettes about growing up in a small town in Middle America among quirky neighbors and a loving family. This is a time when parents did not feel responsible to protect children from broken bones, road rash and wounded hearts, but believed it was their responsible to help kids heal from and live through them. These felt like the self-contained stories one might find in Family Circle or similar magazine. It is not my preferred reading material, but is a good examp ...more
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Memoir, early childhood, woman author, South(?), humor. [s] 4 20 Jun 29, 2020 07:44PM  
My Review of Zippy 8 185 Oct 23, 2017 02:54AM  
Play Book Tag: A Girl Named Zippy 4 stars 10 20 Apr 22, 2016 06:03PM  

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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.

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.” 68 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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