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She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana Paperback – February 13, 2007

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She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana + A Girl Named Zippy + The Solace of Leaving Early
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074328500X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743285001
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Haven Kimmel's memoir She Got Up Off the Couch might have been called The Further Adventures of Zippy, since it picks up where her bestselling A Girl Named Zippy left off, and is reeled out in much the same vein. The person who got up off the couch is Zippy's mother, Delonda, who for years sat on the titular sofa, ate, read, and watched TV until she weighed 268 pounds and life was nearly unbearable. You would never know the bad parts from Haven Kimmel, who always concentrates on the bright side, even though she lived in a house without heat, food, indoor plumbing, a dependable water supply or even a modicum of cleanliness. Kimmel loves her parents inordinately, even at their most unlovable.

Delonda takes a College Entrance exam, passes it and enrolls at Ball State, where she completes a degree in two years, goes on for a Master's and gets a job as a high school teacher. That sounds fairly straightforward but it wasn't easy. Bob Jarvis, Delonda's husband and Zippy's father, gave her no help at all; in fact, he ridiculed her and ignored her progress. Eventually, he found someone else while Delonda was busy reclaiming her life. We could read this as a tale of the times, where a woman takes charge of herself, loses 120 pounds and, against all odds, gains an education and a livelihood. It is all of that, and more.

Life in Mooreland, Indiana, in the 1970s is not very exciting, but Zippy finds wonder everywhere and often laughed until she "tipped right over." There is an unquenchable spirit in the girl, and then in the woman, that keeps popping up despite a very sketchy upbringing. The neighbors fed and bathed her, she wore the same pair of pants to school every day for an entire school year--without benefit of laundry. Her brother and sister lit out at the first chance they had--though Melinda ends up only a few blocks away and becomes another safe port for Zippy. She is a victim of benign neglect, not malice or meanness.

Her tales of church camp, days with her friends, driving with her Dad, going to a play with her Mother, her love for her niece and nephew and her discovery that her Dad is having an affair are all told in typical Zippy-style: they are humorous, poignant, exuberant, and often breathless. Stay tuned: this book ends when Zippy is only thirteen. Hopefully there's more to come. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This sequel to A Girl Named Zippy charts the continuing escapades of adolescent Zippy in tiny Mooreland, Ind., putting special emphasis on the liberation, via a college education, of her mother, Delonda Jarvis. With stories ranging from Zippy's run-in with a territorial cow on a friend's farm to "A Short List of Records My Father Threatened to Break Over My Head If I Played Them One More Time," Kimmel's Twainish tone deepens into a more modern type of despair as the problems of her parents' marriage become pronounced. By learning to drive, getting a bachelor's degree and becoming a teacher to support her family, Delonda expands her potential, mirroring the growing possibilities for women in the post-'60s era. Meanwhile, Zippy's father begrudges Delonda these few freedoms, while still failing to provide adequately for his family and flirting with adultery. Kimmel has a distinct voice and introduces quirky characters, but even better, she goes beyond memoir to explore the anxiety inherent in the shifting of traditional family and gender roles common to her generation. She draws readers in with her easygoing manner and ability to entertain, but surprises with a bittersweet paean to childhood naïveté and an arresting account of a family's disintegration. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The writing style is quirky like Zippy, direct, and refreshingly honest.
Carol Mayer
First read "...Zippy" and then read this book and it like the first book is excellent not to mention hysterical laughing out loud tears being wiped from eyes funny!
A Girl Named Zippy was so good it's hard to believe that this book is even better, but it is.
Delonda Hartmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Haven Kimmel's latest memoir installment is even better than the first ("A Girl Named Zippy") if that's possible to imagine. "She Got Up Off the Couch" is deeper, more interesting and funnier! Watch how she gradually reveals some of the truths of her young life. This deft unveiling technique works perfectly to paint a more sympathetic picture of her family than if she had merely started out stating some of the "facts" about her early life. Thanks to her perfect pacing, we as readers grow in affection for her mother, father and sister before we know some things that otherwise may have made us judge them harshly. Clearly Zippy does not want us to judge them harshly and her superb talent gives us, and her family, this wonderful gift.

No higher praise can I give than to also note that young Zippy has echoes of Scout Finch throughout the narrative. I hated to reach the last page.

If you haven't read "The Solace of Leaving Early", Haven Kimmel's first novel, you will want to do so now. It's has one of the most deliciously irritating protagonists I have ever had the pleasure to meet between the pages of a novel. In fact, I'm going to go re-read it (again) because just writing this makes me recall it's splendor!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Larry Adcock on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Three years ago I accidentally read "A Girl Named Zippy." It's not a book I would have thought to read, you know; the memoirs of a woman's young childhood. My daughter had received the book as a Christmas gift. With nothing better to do one day while sitting in the car as my daughter and her friend were sledding, I picked it up off the car seat and read. After we got home, I couldn't stop reading it, anxious to see what happened next, and read it straight through `til finishing in the wee hours of the morning. Only the aching for another chapter... or two... or another book marred its excellence, `cause Zippy ends with her about 9 or 10 years old. I was excited to hear the continuation was released; I got a couple copies for gifts overnight, and read from the noon UPS delivery until 4 am. There's still plenty of the endearing wacky kid in this book ("I had taken to sucking on gravel, which didn't go over well with my sister... Sometimes I washed it off with the hose, and sometimes I just rubbed it on my shirt. I'd get it in there, move it around. Pea gravel makes a lot of noise in a mouth. It tasted exactly like rock."). But along with stories of her brother, her sister, her friends, and especially her less than stellar dad, half the book is about the improbable Phoenix-like rise of her downtrodden mother who gets her life back on the track delayed two decades by a husband content to let his family live in poverty. Her fascination with her mother's journey and transformation leads her to take every opportunity she can to vicariously share it. I grew up, in nearly the same period, in two of the surrounding towns that played big parts in this story, so there's a nostalgic angle for my enjoyment, but I can't imagine anyone not loving this book, especially if they read Zippy first.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Churn on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I honestly didn't think that A Girl Named Zippy could be topped, but Haven Kimmel has done it again. The woman is amazingly talented! While the first book was innocent and exuberant, this one was more thought provoking and poignant as Zippy grows into an adolescent young woman with so many thoughts and feelings swirling within. Don't get me wrong, there is some incredibly funny stuff in this book. There were times when I threw my head back and laughed so hard I could hardly breathe, but it kept me thinking, also. For me, the best chapter was titled "Gold" when she pays homage to her friends. Oh, my goodness! Tears came to my eyes. She absolutely captured the essence of what true friendship is all about and the fact that they all accepted her for who she was despite her family's situation.

I truly hope that this is only book two of a trilogy. I'm anxious to know what happens to Zippy as she evolves into Haven. I want to know how Delonda copes with her husband leaving the family. I want to know if Melinda ever stops torturing Zippy. I want to know more about Dan and how he reconciles his feelings about his father and his childhood. And I even want to know what eventually happens to Bob Jarvis though a side of him is revealed in this book that isn't as endearing as in the first book. I want to know, dang it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on January 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In this sequel to A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY, Haven Kimmel continues the saga of her family who resided in the very small town of Mooreland, Indiana. The anecdotes of the Jarvis family are sometimes humorous, often poignant, and always believable. The author had not intended to write a sequel, but everywhere she went while promoting A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY her fans clamored to know if Delonda got up off the couch. Indeed she did.

Zippy's mother spent many years at her command post, the couch, reading all types of books, knitting lovely things and eating crunchy junk food. She spoke softly and secretively into the telephone to her friends from church. The family came and went while Delonda maintained her spot on the couch. She seemed like a fixture in the room.

But nothing remains the same forever. Delonda, the couch potato, had some powerful stirrings to participate in the outside world --- especially to drive a car and to attend college. Her husband, an extremely self-centered fellow, had no interest in his wife's ambitions nor in assisting her in any way. But the church ladies, her always-available support group, encouraged her to act on her ambitions.

Zippy was absorbed in her own life. She was a rambunctious tomboy who loathed taking baths and wearing shoes. She hated her hair and really disliked wearing dresses. If there was mischief to be found, Zippy usually instigated it. She seemed fearless, which might account for her frequent trips to the emergency room. Zippy was the youngest child, and her father often took her fishing or for rides in his truck. Even though the family lived in a wreck of a house and sometimes had their utilities shut off for nonpayment, her father always had money to dress well and keep a nice vehicle on the road.
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