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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period–people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards. Laced with fine storytelling, sharp wit, dead-on observations, and moments of sheer joy, Haven Kimmel's straight-shooting portrait of her childhood gives us a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and sly as she navigates the quirky adult world that surrounds Zippy.…

A Girl Named Zippy

by Haven Kimmel

Overall Book Review:

Haven Kimmel comes as close to being a real-life Scout Finch as anyone I can imagine. She was a precocious, strong-willed child, and as an adult she has a wonderful sense of humor and the ability to write about it. Kimmel doesn’t pull any punches, and neither does anyone around her–literally. Growing up in Mooreland, Indiana in the 1970s sounds like a lot of fun and a little bit dangerous.  

Told through a child’s eyes, the realities of living in a tiny, close-knit community are made bare to the reader in a way that avoids any sense of gossip or backbiting. When a child tells a story, it is what it is. A delightful, fun, quick, clean read.
Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 5 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 2 scatalogical words; 2 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore: Children scrap and fight; teachers and parents shake children; a character’s arm is dislocated in a bike accident; characters are bitten by animals; characters are thrown from horses with no serious injury; animals are slaughtered for food; children are slapped by parents; stories are told of a character abusing animals; a character’s brother allegedly kills a man; stories are told of people dead of gunshot and suicide; a character’s parents allegedly fight physically; a character injures a finger and the doctor treats the injury with live maggots.

There is very little description, and what is related is so matter-of-fact that the reader either finds it funny or is able to dismiss it almost immediately.

Sex/Nudity: A poor child doesn’t wear underwear and her fellow students are able to see this; three teens become pregnant out of wedlock; animals mate with no details given.

Mature Subject Matter:

Suicide threat, Vietnam War, PTSD, Implied sexual abuse, Gambling, KKK.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Many adult characters drink alcohol at parties; a character is an alcoholic; many adult characters smoke cigarettes; children are given liquor to taste; a neighbor’s house is full of mysterious smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother would often find me curled up in a corner, avoiding chores with a book–or two. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a large selection of YA books. I had children’s books and adult literature to choose from. I’ve come to love YA fiction as an adult and read almost nothing else when I read for pleasure–any genre will do.