A Girl Named Zippy


A Girl Named Zippy Book Cover

Author: Kimmel, Haven

Title: A Girl Named Zippy

Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir

Publication Date: 2001

Geographical Setting: Mooreland, Indiana

Time Period: 1960s – 1970s

Number of Pages: 275

Series: No

Plot Summary:

Through a series of vignettes, Haven Kimmel narrates her childhood in Mooreland, Indiana. Every short chapter is preceded by a photograph from her childhood. Each amusing anecdote focuses on Zippy’s family, friends, beloved animals, or small town life. Although she didn’t speak until she was three years old, Zippy has an abundance of recollections which she shares with the reader, telling her story through the voice of a young Zippy Jarvis.

Subject Headings: Family and Relationships — Growing Up, Memoirs — Growing Up, Adult books for young adults, Childhood and youth, Girls, Biography, Small town life, Autobiographies (Adult literature)

Appeal: dialogue-focused, compelling, engaging, engrossing, detailed characters, multiple points of view, reflective, well-drawn characters, first-person narrative, nostalgic, character-centered, family-centered, thought provoking, domestic, flashbacks, layered, contemporary, small-town, contemplative, haunting, introspective, psychological, engaging, conversational, natural, simple, unpretentious

Three Terms that best describe this book: Family-Centered, Reflective, Engaging

Similar Authors and Works:

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Buffalo Gal: A Memoir by Laura Pedersen. This is a fanciful memoir about the “neighborhood wild child” that takes place in the 1970s.  This work follows Pedersen from her days as the impulsive and undisciplined neighborhood kid to a 21 year old millionaire with a seat on the American Stock Exchange. (engrossing, engaging, nostalgic, reflective)

Holy Roller: Growing up in the Church of Knock Down Drag Out, or, How I Stopped Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus by Diane Wilson. This is a memoir of a Pentecostal Holy Roller/shrimper’s daughter growing up along the Texas Gulf Coast in the 1950s. (family-centered, character-centered, nostalgic, simple, unpretentious)

The Only Girl in the Car: a Memoir by Kathy Dobie.  A coming-of-age memoir of a Catholic girl growing up in a small Connecticut town in the 1960s. At 14 and longing for a role other than the “good daughter,” Dobie gets caught up in the wrong crowd at the local teen center. Dobie eventually leads herself away from self-destruction with the help of her English teacher. (Compelling, character-centered, small-town, thought-provoking, haunting)

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Windchill Summer, by Norris Church Mailer. A coming-of-age novel about Cherry, a young girl in her last year of college. The story is set in the summer of 1969 in Sweet Valley Arkansas. It is during this summer that Cherry falls in love and begins to question her commonplace life. This book is similar to Zippy in that it is about small-town life during the 1960s. (Partially told in the first-person narrative, character-centered, contemplative)

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen: A Novel by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Catherine Grace Cline is the daughter of a Baptist preacher growing up in Ringgold, GA in the 1970s. She daydreams of leaving her small town for the big city of Atlanta. In time, she does make it to Atlanta, only to come home again because of a tragedy. Ultimately, Catherine Grace decides that Ringgold is not such a bad place after all. Like Zippy, this coming-of-age story is set during the seventies in a small town. (engaging, first-person narrative, character-centered, simple language)

A Brief History of the Flood by Jean Harfenist. Lillian Anderson’s coming-of-age tale is told in 11 short stories, much like chapters of a novel. The story takes place during the 1960s in (imagined) rural Sioux County Acorn Lake, Minnesota. Lillian’s parents are eccentric characters – a manic-depressive mother and an alcoholic father. Lillian is an unforgettable character who does not choose maturity, it is forced upon her. This book is similar to Zippy in that it takes place in a small town during the 1960s. (first-person narrative, simple and natural language, nostalgic, unpretentious, family-centered)

Name: Laona Fleischer


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