Title: A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana
Author: Haven Kimmel
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 2001
Format: Paperback
Length: 275 pages

A Girl Named Zippy is a fun memoir that I found while browsing the biography section at my local library. Haven Kimmel (born Susan Elizabeth Jarvis) writes about her memories from K-5th grade growing up in Mooreland, Indiana, a small town of 300 people. The memoir is humorous and witty as she writes about her surroundings from a young girl’s perspective. Kimmel’s mother struggles with depression and her father with alcoholism. She brings light to the family with her sense of humor and quirkiness. Kimmel’s sister, Melinda, was 10 and her brother, Daniel, was 13 when she was born. Kimmel writes in the book “My mother always cheerfully refers to me as “an afterthought,” which I consider a term of immense respect and affection, in spite of Melinda’s attempts to convince me otherwise,” (p.4). Kimmel had a big heart growing up. Her sister competed for Mooreland Fair Queen and Zippy emptied her piggy bank so Melinda would receive the most votes. Kimmel writes “The queen was decided by a process called “a-penny-a-vote,” which was modeled on democracy but confused with capitalism, and thus was successful, as processes go,” (p. 46). She spent time with her father fishing and went to church with her Mom every Sunday, even though she didn’t really want to go. She would hide her shoes and little pink Bible in an attempt to delay the process of going to church. If you loved the character Ramona Qumiby created by Beverly Clearly, you will love Zippy. A Girl Named Zippy was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and chosen as a must read by The Today Show’s book club.

five out of five bookworms
Haven Kimmel in her hometown of Mooreland, Indiana

About the author…

Haven Kimmel was born in New Castle, Indiana, and was raised in Mooreland, Indiana, the focus of her bestselling memoir, A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana .

Kimmel earned her undergraduate degree in English and creative writing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and a graduate degree from North Carolina State University, where she studied with novelist Lee Smith. She also attended seminary at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana.

She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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