Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: A Girl Named Zippy
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on December 12, 2003
This book is proof that each of us has plenty of material in our `ordinary' lives to use as material for writing a memoir. What most of us DON'T have, however, if Haven Kimmel's ability to write so well that what was really a very simple small-town childhood can be elevated to a 280-page book that utterly captivates. Kimmel achieves what many others have attempted to do and failed: she writes entirely from the child's voice without losing her audience, without becoming cloying, without making us want to smack her and say `get on with it.' By turns wickedly witty, humorous, poignant, sweet, heart-wrenching, wise, A Girl Named Zippy is simply one of the best books I've read this year, a poem to a happy childhood.
I resisted it for over a year, fearing it was going to be a sappy, feel-good story. Wrong. It's utterly original, utterly uplifting, utterly hilarious, utterly wonderful. Do NOT fail to read this book.
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on November 20, 2002
I just read the last page in A Girl Named Zippy, and now I'm at a loss. I want Zippy back! Normally, I'm not a fan of memoirs or non-fiction in general, but I had heard nothing but praise about this book. Thankfully I listened...
Haven Kimmel, or Zippy as she's come to be known due to the fact she used to zip around the house as a toddler, has opened her life to us. The laughter begins on page 2 when Zippy's sister comments on the type of people who would be willing to read a book about life in teeny Mooreland, Indiana. Well, count me in! Reading this book was such pure, emphatic joy. Zippy reminds me a bit of a female Dennis the Menace -- little bit of a pest, but sweet, mostly innocent, and a lot curious. The stories inside are told with a poignant tone, a wistfullness for the days when life was simple, despite how big it all seemed when you were only 3-feet-tall.
A happy childhood -- a breath of fresh air if you ask me. Stories like this make me grateful I grew up in a small town, and that if I thought hard enough I could come up with some stories of my own. A Girl Named Zippy has something for everybody, and a book that I will forever hold in high regard. Wonderful!
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on June 11, 2001
A friend of mine opens to any page of "Bridget Jones' Diary" when she needs a laugh, but I prefer to do this with "A Girl Named Zippy." For anyone who grew up in a small town, Haven Kimmel's hilarious memoir is bound to strike a chord and elicit a grin. The stories of her father maniacally packing their camper to bursting for camping trips, his imaginative tormenting of their dog-hating neighbors, and the young Zippy giving haircuts to hippies in exchange for a dog had me in stitches! Aside from being a gifted storyteller, Haven is also a talented writer; her vivid descriptions and characterizations make this book read like a novel or short story collection. As I read this book, I couldn't help but think that if Scout of "To Kill a Mockingbird" had been a real girl, she would've grown up to write a memoir a lot like "A Girl Named Zippy." For anyone who wants to read a book that will make you laugh out loud and also give you a glimpse of an American life in simpler times--when a vacation either meant going out of town to visit relatives or taking a camping trip with your family--this is the book for you. Thanks for bringing back so many fond memories of my own rural Maryland upbringing, Haven!
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on October 7, 2002
My aunt and mother asked me to read this to see what I thought. It was billed as a thoughtful, hilarious memoir of a girl growing up in a small mid-western town. Sounded good to me. However, what I found were a few chuckles, some very good writing, but mostly I was taken with the sadness of her story. Her father gambled away her mother's wedding rings. Her mother was depressed and spent all her time reading sci-fi and convincing her she was adopted (cruel). Her neighbors were creeps that threatened to kill her pets. Her friend and her mother had to flee in the middle of the night from an abusive husband and father. Graphic detail of animals being killed, butchered, dying and rotting under houses, etc. All I know is that if this is what people are describing as a funny, heartwarming childhood memoir, I'm sorry for us all. It was nicely written and I'd love to see her try again, but this just wasn't my cup of tea.
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VINE VOICEon January 8, 2005
A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY by Haven Kimmel

January 8, 2005

One of my favorite books read in 2004 was this one, A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY by Haven Kimmel. I'm not one to read memoirs, but the front cover caught my eye. The photo of this nearly bald headed little girl in a ruffled blue dress and huge eyes and big ears was something that I couldn't walk away from. And with enough recommendations from other readers, I finally picked up the book at the end of 2004.

Zippy was the nickname of Haven Kimmel, because of the way she used to zip around the room. The book is told from her point of view, but through her eyes as a young precocious girl. We see things as they happened years ago, starting from how she thinks (in her humorous way) her mother and the rest of her family saw her. One of the funniest sections of this memoir was Zippy recalling her mother's journal and writing about Zippy, and the fact that she hadn't spoken a word until the age of three. When Zippy finally spoke her first words and they were "I'll make a deal with you", spoken to her father, her mother's journal entry was "Now that we know she can talk, all I can say is `dear God. Please give that child some hair. Amen'". There were lines like this and many more that had me laughing out loud as I read.

A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY is told in little vignettes, and goes back and forth in time. The reader is reliving Kimmel's childhood through flashes of memory, one leading into another, and not necessarily in chronological order. Although this style doesn't always work, I felt it was perfect for this book. The short chapters made this book a fast read. Each succeeding chapter added a little bit more to the memories of Kimmel's childhood, giving the reader an idea of what her life must have been like in the late 60's and early 70's growing up in that small town of Mooreland, Indiana. It is a town in which (her sister claims) no one sane would have any interest in hearing about, but obviously Melinda was wrong. Kimmel did write that book about their small town lives in Mooreland, and it was interesting enough to get published. I would love to read a sequel, and see what other escapades our dear little Zippy got herself into.
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on August 9, 2004
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I am a big fan of the 'memoir' genre, and this one was great. I find regular people a lot more interesting than celebrities (who really cares about Anne Heche or Pamela Anderson? Really?)and this book was charming and somewhat whimsical. Unconcerned with time-lines, which don't really matter in this book, she seems to write it as she remembers it--it was like having a conversation about childhood with someone, complete with a few small exaggerations. I would recommend this book to everyone!
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on July 20, 2014
I bought this book instead of borrowing from library because of all the great reviews and the premise of it.

It started out great and I thought it was going to be a wonderful book I'd love, but it quickly became a chore to read.

It seemed chaotic in that with each chapter she skipped around and I never knew just how old she was when certain things happened.

The main issues I had with this book is with some of the things she found humorous and wrote about-I didn't. As the book wore on I saw her as very calloused and mean for making fun of people for being epileptic, fat, old, foster kids, 'retarded' or whatever else she wrote in the book where she seemed to mock people. And not just people; with a back cover that said she went to seminary too, I didn't expect that she would mock God and religion. I could see what she was talking about when she said all the adults in town didn't like her.

It also seemed rather mean that she would write about the folks in her small hometown in this fashion. I would love to know how they felt about Haven growing up, and about this book. I also would have liked some closure about some of the people in the book.

I'd love to find out about her mom and dad but I will not be reading any more of her books. This one needed more "heart" and compassion and less (or no) bullying.
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on October 20, 2001
Haven Kimmel has somehow remembered the small details of growing up in Indiana that had long ago faded from my memory. I laughed out loud more than once, what a funny, wonderful read!!! My sisters are reading it now and also loving it. I especially love the finale Christmas in the book. Through the Christmas story, the true nature of midwestern life and values are spoken. Thank you, Haven ... and your sister was wrong. I chose your book even though there were many other non-pork related books on the shelf!!!
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on April 5, 2004
Do you remember what it is like to be a child? The crazy thoughts and assumptions that ran through your head? A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana, by Haven Kimmel, has exactly what it takes to remind you of your carefree days of being a kid.
With no specific storyline, Kimmel uses pieces of her childhood from the 1960's and 70's to entertain her audience. She vividly describes what it is like to grow up living in the small Indiana town of Mooreland. Throughout the story, many of the townspeople are introduced. The humorous memories take you from Zippy's early childhood into her teenage years. The book reminds you what it is like to be a kid and the never-ending difficulties of growing up.
Zippy is by far the most enjoyable book I have ever read. Kimmel's excerpts are laugh-out-loud funny. She does a great job of painting a picture to make you feel you like you are one of the crazy Mooreland people. Zippy is the perfect book to curl up to on a rainy day. This book is for people of all ages who don't mind a good laugh. I most definitely recommend this book to anyone, because I know they will enjoy it.
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on September 19, 2002
It is absolutely unfair that someone could produce such a gem the first time out of the gate. Haven Kimmel has written a marvelous memoir that had me laughing almost immediately. We all have stories about our childhood that have become family folklore and Ms. Kimmel has done a beautiful job of putting all of hers in one book. There were many times when I had to re-read a certain sentence or phrase to make sure it really was as funny as I thought it was the first time. Everyone in this book, from her family (including two much older siblings who tortured her mercilessly) to the crazy neighbor who allegedly tried to smother her in her crib, is colorful and truly believable because we all probably know someone just like them. One of my favorite stories involves Haven's dad (who drinks on the job and carries a gun every day) when he got even with the neighbor who complained to him about his barking dogs by getting friends and strangers to bring their dogs in cages to his yard and then proceeded to put a caged raccoon in front of the dog cages. Needless to say, thirty dogs barking all night proved his point. Ms. Kimmel is obviously bright as well as observant. She is also incredibly sassy which makes this an even enjoyable read. I will be recommending this one to my friends.
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