Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Girl Named Zippy

I added this book to my 'to read' list based on a recommendation from a fellow Paperback Swap member ( I’m glad I did.

A Girl Named Zippy is Haven Kimmel’s memoir about growing up in Mooreland, Indiana (population: 300). Her family nicknames Haven Zippy because she’s always in constant motion.

This was a gentle memoir of Zippy’s colorful childhood that's told from a child’s perspective. Despite being a small community there’s some colorful characters like the ornery drug store owner, her chain smoking father and science fiction crazy mother. There are also stories of animal abuse, gambling, family abuse (not Zippy’s family) and poverty.

Some highlights for me: When Zippy tells her father she wants to be in the mafia when she grows up, he brings a framed certificate saying she was an official lifelong member of the Mafia. It was signed by Leonard “The Lion” Gravitiano Salvatore. Another is when Zippy convinces the next door neighbor “hippies” to give them their dog, who she thinks they don’t treat well, in exchange for hair cuts. She gives the dog to her father as Father’s Day present. According to Zippy, her father and the dog are constant companions for 14 years.

There’s also an interesting underlying emphasis on religion, while Zippy’s mother is a devout Quaker, her father does not go to services. Once when Zippy tells him everyone thinks he’s not a Christian he takes her early in the morning to a campground and tells her that it’s his church:

“’Where there are two or three gathered together, there I am also.’”

“Are there two or three of something out here?” he asked gesturing around us.

I nodded. “There are two or three trees, and two or three bugs, and two or three flowers. And us, of course.”

“Then this is where God is.”

Overall, I found this a charming come of age memoir.

Additional reading:
Haven Kimmel:
Kimmel’s blog,

Purity of Heart (fan site):

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