Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Book Reviews:: A Girl Named Zippy & She Got Up Off the Couch

A Girl Named Zippy & She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel

Have you ever felt like you were destined to read a particular book?  Well, I can assure you, I was meant to read this pair of lovelies.  I found the first of the set, A Girl Named Zippy, on a cart at the library for sale for fifty cents.  As usual, I chose the book primarily for the cover...I mean, look at that silly little face!..and once I read the synopsis, I was sold. 

Zippy is a beautiful memoir written in the voice of the author's childhood self, recounting hilarious happenings in her home, town, and church in the teeny town of Mooreland, Indiana.  Zippy was raised by a Quaker mother, who unbeknownst to her, was rendered helpless, and motionless, by depression, and a mountain man father who was always tinkering, yet never really doing much of anything.  Zippy had two siblings with whom she only shared her home briefly before they began their adult, separate lives.  Mooreland was a town of only three hundred, and Zippy knew every soul that lived therein.  She was a wild child with a penchant for mischief and an aversion to hygiene and order, and she openly shares her struggles with her parents' different versions of faith, as well as her own.  In essence, her recollections and retellings had me guffawing until my sides hurt.  Just ask Jason:  I read in bed for about thirty minutes every night before I hit the hay, and more than once while reading Zippy, I laughed so hard that I shook the bed, waking him.  Zippy's country life reminds me so very much of my own childhood, and the "hillbilly" characters are all too familiar to me, too.  Maybe that's why I found this book to be so endearing, and knowing that Zippy is a real-life human being that is still out there in this world makes me love her that much more.  You can't make up what this girl went through!

After I'd gotten a chapter or two into Zippy, I stopped at a random garage sale one afternoon, and as I usually do, I began digging through the treasure trove of books being discarded.  While I flipped through the stack, a particular cover jumped out at me, and lo and behold, it was Zippy!  I'd recognize those eyeballs anywhere!  I practically stole the book...the lady only wanted a quarter for it...but I knew that I was in for a treat if this sequel was anywhere near as entertaining as the first.

In She Got Up Off the Couch, Zippy picks up where she left off, continuing the hilarity and introducing me to a whole new slew of characters.  Only something has changed in Zippy's tone...she begins to reveal nuances that perhaps she only saw with hindsight as she matured.  The mystery of her mother's permanence on their couch began to become clear, and her father's discontent with her mother's determination to better herself changes the entire family dynamic.  Zippy was no longer oblivious to the unhappiness in her home, and the story being told, while still riddled with humor and precious sweetness, begins to break your heart a tiny chip at a time.  But in a hopeful way.  Because obviously Zippy makes it out alive, or else she wouldn't have given us these two absolute treasures of literary wonder! 

I highly recommend these two books.  You must read both.  And then, if you're like me, you'll wish there were more to come. 

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