Sunday, July 15, 2012
"A Girl Named Zippy" by Haven Kimmel
In 1950s, Mooreland, Indiana, had a population of 300. In the 1960s, it was 300. In the 1970s, 300. You get the picture. It was a small town, and things didn't change much. But for Haven "Zippy" Kimmel, it's a special place. It's where she raised her cats, PeeDink and Smokey, as well as Skippy the Hamster. It's where she sat in church pews with her mother every single Sunday and "went to church" in the woods with her father. It's where her family bickered with the next door neighbor, who wanted to poison their rowdy dogs. It's where she grew up. In this memoir, Zippy shares all the ups and downs of growing up in small-town America.
You know how the most random things stick out in your memories? This is basically Zippy's recollection of some of those moments from her early years. Nowadays there are so many depressing memoirs out there, so it's super refreshing to read one that's about a childhood that was actually pretty happy. There are some downers--the legitimately creepy teacher and Zippy's dad's drinking problem, to name a few--but they make the story feel real. If everything was too perfect, it would seem like Zippy was leaving things out. And, for the most part, the tone is optimistic and upbeat. Even though her family didn't have a lot of money, they all had a good time. There are plenty of funny and heartwarming moments. My one complaint is that it's quite unorganized. The stories are all over the place and not necessarily in chronological order, so I often found myself confused about what happened when. I don't mind the randomness of the stories--as I mentioned earlier, our memories often work that way. I just would have liked to see those random things organized in some sort of order, either chronological or by topic. Still, it's an enjoyable read that made me think fondly of my own childhood.