A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

zippyHaven Kimmel wins again. This is her best-known and best-selling book, and her first memoir, and my first of her nonfiction. It is everything I had hoped for. She’s hilarious. She communicates a rather modestly lived mid-American existence in such a way that it is compelling, interesting, and occasionally involves small-scale tragedies; and at the same time it is recognizable as the lives of all of us. But on the other hand, make no mistake: Kimmel’s life as a small girl called Zippy (for her high speeds) is frequently bizarre. She was apparently funny-looking, with eyes too close together, and as a baby she was bald for an unusually long time, save a tuft of hair on the top of her head. She did not speak a single word until she was nearly three, when she began (we are told) with complete sentences. As in her novels, Kimmel introduces fully realized canine and other animal characters that her reader comes to love.

I would read anything Haven Kimmel writes; but I am especially excited about She Got Up Off the Couch, her memoir of her mother. Said mother is a character in Zippy who receives relatively little treatment, but is hinted to possess hidden depths, and I can’t wait to get to know her in my next read. Kimmel’s father, a funny, likeable mischief-maker, is a little more heavily featured. Her brother continues the theme of odd, amusing relatives. Friends from the neighborhood and from school, the local storekeeper, the old lady in the haunted house next door, and various teachers are described in brief sketches that make me giggle and paint a complete portrait in a paragraph.

A Girl Named Zippy is very, very funny; occasionally sad; insightful, beautifully written, and long on pathos. Tomorrow, come back around for quotations from a few of my favorite passages.

Rating: 8 science fiction novels.

4 Responses

  1. […] promised in yesterday’s review, I am here today to share a few of my favorite passages with you from A Girl Named […]

  2. […] book follows A Girl Named Zippy, and I adore Kimmel’s explanation in her Preface: that she would definitely never write a […]

  3. […] A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel […]

  4. […] find my favorite memoir left off her list. Here I am, blogging! But she listed several I love, by Kimmel, Bechdel, and Bragg; Dillard, Williams, Offutt; titles I haven’t read but have faith in by […]

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