They call her Zippy
IN THE PROLOGUE to her memoir, a collection of She expanded the pieces and eventually shared
essays titled A Girl Named Zippy, Haven Kimmel re- the memoir with author Lee Smith while studying
calls a conversation with her sister in which the lat- creative writing at North Carolina State University.
ter says no one had written a book about their Smith read the manuscript over a weekend and
hometown, Mooreland, Indiana, promptly told Kimmel the name of an
because no one would want to read it. agent to submit it to. After that, says
Zippy chronicles Kimmel’s earli- Kimmel, it was a whirlwind.
est memories growing up in a town Over the last six years Kimmel has
with only one four-way stop sign and penned a children’s book, two novels
a population that refused to fluctuate and She Got Up Off the Couch (Free
from 300. (Zippy is Kimmel’s nick- Press, 2005), a follow-up to Zippy.
name, bestowed by her father after Kimmel’s next novel is already
seeing a bicycle-riding monkey on written, allowing her a year off. The
television.) Eachchapteroffersinsight break is lucky timing, as Kimmel is
into familiar territory of youth: the expecting her third child, a boy. She
neighborhood bully, the life-and has a daughter in her early 20s and a
death lessons taught by keeping pets son who’s just shy of double digits.
and the fulfillment of the seemingly Haven Kimmel The author says her family is
impossible Christmas wish. accustomed to her putting in “mara-
Author recalls childhood
in small-town Indiana
By Stephanie E. Ponder
Released in 2001, the memoir was not only a thon bouts of writing” working“ 40 14-hour days in
New York Times bestseller, but also one of the first a row” while finishing a manuscript. During those
Today Show Book Club picks. The book’s popularity times, her husband, a potter, tends to daily chores.
surprised not only Kimmel’s sister, but the author With time on her hands, Kimmel has been field-herself. Kimmel says that because she never in- ingquestionsabouttherecenthubbubsurrounding
tended to publish Zippy, she certainly didn’t expect the accuracy of memoirs. Kimmel says she had sev-it to be successful. eral means of verifying the validity of her stories.
“It’s a coming-of-age book,” Kimmel tells The She included photos of the people in her memoir,
Connection from her home in Durham, North Caro- had access to her mother’s journal and asked her fam-lina. “I wanted it to be generally available to anyone.” ily and friends to read either the entire manuscript or
Her readers have proven that, if nothing else, the essays in which they appear.
the memoir is accessible. Every fan letter she’s re- “The rules for memoirs aren’t established, but
ceived has expressed the sentiment that Kimmel the rules for humans are,” says Kimmel. “My 9-year-
captured that person’s childhood—whether the old knows a lie is a lie.
reader grew up in a small town or a megalopolis like “The standard I was held to protects me,” says
Los Angeles. The author attributes it to the small Kimmel, who after a few moments adds, “When
landscape of childhood. “You ’ve got a few blocks you’re writing about a happy childhood, you don’t
and your family,” she explains. “Everyone has their have to lie.” C
own cast of characters.”
Pennie Clark Ianniciello
Costco Book Buyer
I REMEMBER when
Haven Kimmel’s A Girl
Named Zippy was first
published in 2001. Like
everyone else, I was captivated by her stories of
growing up in small-town
Indiana. Kimmel captures
that childhood sense of
awe that makes routine
events seem remarkable.
I recently revisited
this memoir, and it’s a
pleasure to know that
Zippy’s magic hasn’t
faded. Kimmel’s memories, from her beloved
bike to the neighborhood’s scary old spinster,
helped me recall my memories of growing up in
Seattle—before it swelled
into the city it is today.
A Girl Named Zippy is
available in most Costco
warehouses and at
costco.com. Kimmel’s follow-up memoir, She Got
Up Off the Couch, is available in some warehouses
and at costco.com. C
She explains that what she
attempted to do with the book
was to offer “a way of looking at
childhood as a place where funny,
harmless things occurred that were
The essays in the book began as
something Kimmel wrote for her
mother and sister. Then, while attending a writing seminar at the Earlham
School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana, Kimmel had the assignment of creating something book length.
“When I started writing Zippy, I had an arsenal
of family stories that family members told over the
years,” she says.
giveaway 34088, Seattle, WA 98124-1088; or
fax it to (425) 313-6718.
No purchase is necessary.
COSTCO HAS 10 autographed Entries must be received or post-
copies of Haven Kimmel’s marked by midnight, May 1, 2006.
A Girl Named Zippy to Void where prohibited. Employees
give a way. of Costco and their families are not
To enter, print your name, eligible. Winners will be notified by
membership number, address and mail. One entry per household.
daytime phone number on a postcard or letter and send it to: Zippy,
The Costco Connection, P.O. Box
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