You Have to Read: “A Girl Named Zippy” by Haven Kimmel

July 27, 2011

I have an announcement.

And who better to bring you this news than Microsoft Clip Image 427772 “Man in Suit Cheering Into Megaphone.”

You see what I mean.

But here it is: I’m going to be recommending books, and lots of them, right here on The Green Lemon.

My reasons for this are 1) I read an unbelievable amount of books, 2) I am always looking for people to force my book recommendations on, and 3) here you are.

I’m not promising a strict dedication to this new venture, say every Wednesday or twice a month, because if there’s one thing I know about myself it’s that the best way for me to not do something is to claim that I will do it religiously. Some of you may remember the promise I made a few months back to blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And the 3 month void of silence that immediately followed.

I’m starting with something random, but lovely nonetheless.

My book club chose this book last summer. I downloaded it on my iPod and listened to it while taking long, exuberant walks around the neighborhood. This wasn’t my cleverest idea because 1) It made me laugh so hard and so often that I looked like a lunatic, and 2) laughing made my walks less exuberant and less of a rationale for why I could eat an extra Knock Em Naked Brownie.

A Girl Called Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana, is a memoir, told through Haven Kimmel’s 3rd grade self, and each chapter is a mini novella about her growing up years. It’s the story of a uniquely magical childhood. I know, normally we’re not interested in that sort of thing. Give us danger, give us grief, give us horror, but whatever you do, don’t give us magical.

But Zippy surprised me, because in each of these little stories she tells about her tiny town, horrible hair and sometimes downright unlovable parents you somehow get that little ache in the back of your throat that reminds you of how good life really can be. And it is so funny. There have been about 7 books that have made me laugh like this.

Take Zippy’s view on Jesus:

“Everyone around me was flat-out in love with him, and who wouldn’t be? He was good with animals, he loved his mother, and he wasn’t afraid of blind people.”

Amen, sister.

Equally as good is Haven Kimmel’s follow up book She Got Up Off the Couch and Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana.

This is the story of Zippy’s mother, who one day after years of hiding from her depression on the couch with a cardboard box of novels and 100 extra pounds, decides to make a change. And off she goes.

Please read these. Or even better, listen to them. If you walk by my house cackling like a lunatic I will at least give you the benefit of the doubt.

8 thoughts on “You Have to Read: “A Girl Named Zippy” by Haven Kimmel

  1. Twana

    I love it. I’m going out to get these right now. Okay. Not right now since I’m sitting at my desk cheating on the internet while waiting for the phone to ring. (I’m at work.. okay?) But I’ll google ‘em and put ‘em in my order box.

  2. The Granny Byrd

    I’m giggling just reading your review, Can’t wait to pick this one up! I’m ALWAYS looking for a good book so Thank You!

  3. NancyLG

    I read that! It was so funny!! Now you have to read The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” if you thought Zippy was funny…

  4. Shannon

    I’ll be getting these. I listen to audio CDs for my work commute (it’s the only way I avoid road rage). Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Jaynie Holley

    I think that this will be a very interesting blog. You’ve sold me on reading/
    “A girl named zippy.”

  6. Ryan

    My wife and I just started reading your blog. Love the subjects you address and the writing style. Looking forward to more. Anytime you feel like you need anything a little more custom than Microsoft Clip Image 427772 to adorn your post let me know. I’d love to pair some of my illustration with your writing. See a wide range of samples on And no, this isn’t spam, I’m not selling anything. I’m sure that if you find the idea the least bit strange, I’ll be reading about it in a future post.

    1. jenna Post author

      Ryan, thanks so much for the comment. I spent some time on your blog this morning and really like your work. I have been considering having a masthead designed for The Green Lemon, would you be interested? I would do a post linking to your work and you could put your logo or a “designed by” into the image or I could put it somewhere else on the site.

      I feel like your style is very much what I’ve been looking for.

      These are the images I especially liked:
      1. “Sue Lemon” (of course-I could see something like this being perfect)
      2. Mormon Tabernacle Choir Central States Tour
      3. Towel Days
      4. SL Temple screen print
      5. Ogden Marathon “game board” (very clever)
      6. “Snarr”, in the post titled “Mockingbird



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