Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Girl Named Zippy

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana
Author: Haven Kimmel
Broadway Books, 2001
282 pages

I'm leaving Indiana soon after living there for just over 14 years, and I hadn't read A Girl Named Zippy yet, so I figured there was no time like the present. Boy, was I missing out. This quirky memoir, written by an author who is about my age, had me laughing out loud. Everything about this well-written book is, well, quirky.

Anyone who's ever lived in a small town - or spent much time in one - will be able to relate to some of the people and events in this book. Crazy neighbors, mean boys and girls, weird teachers, and even occasional total strangers make this book come to life. Sometimes it feels like you're reading fiction. I mean, some of this couldn't be real, could it? Well, there are some things you just can't make up, as you'll see when you read A Girl Named Zippy.

I loved it. I loved how she wrote so lovingly about her parents, and how her family was so accepting of each other's, um, quirks. I loved her humor, which could be snarky at times, but only when deserved. I loved the story about her being adopted from a band of gypsies and how her parents played along with her sister's suggestion . . . and when her Dad took her to his church in the woods . . . and her very vivid description of the time she ate a whole bag of carrots and . . . well, you'll have to read it.  Even the sad stories grabbed at my heart, like the one about the pet chicken . . . and so many about kids from her school.  I wanted to smack a couple of people up, and I couldn't help but wonder: was she using real names? How does that memoir thing work, anyway?!!

I read this on a recent visit to my parents' farm, and I laughed out loud so much that my Mom asked for me to leave the book when I finished so she could read it. Actually, I think she was just enamored with the cover photo. It is captivating.

Anyway, if you like memoirs, and you like quirky, then you should definitely add this one to your list. You'll probably want to add her follow-up memoir, She Got Up Off The Couch, also.

This makes two nonfiction books in a row. Did you notice?