cover image She Got Up Off the Couch: The Further Adventures of a Girl Named Zippy

She Got Up Off the Couch: The Further Adventures of a Girl Named Zippy

Haven Kimmel, . . Free Press, $24 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-8499-8

This sequel to A Girl Named Zippy charts the continuing escapades of adolescent Zippy in tiny Mooreland, Ind., putting special emphasis on the liberation, via a college education, of her mother, Delonda Jarvis. With stories ranging from Zippy's run-in with a territorial cow on a friend's farm to "A Short List of Records My Father Threatened to Break Over My Head If I Played Them One More Time," Kimmel's Twainish tone deepens into a more modern type of despair as the problems of her parents' marriage become pronounced. By learning to drive, getting a bachelor's degree and becoming a teacher to support her family, Delonda expands her potential, mirroring the growing possibilities for women in the post-'60s era. Meanwhile, Zippy's father begrudges Delonda these few freedoms, while still failing to provide adequately for his family and flirting with adultery. Kimmel has a distinct voice and introduces quirky characters, but even better, she goes beyond memoir to explore the anxiety inherent in the shifting of traditional family and gender roles common to her generation. She draws readers in with her easygoing manner and ability to entertain, but surprises with a bittersweet paean to childhood naïveté and an arresting account of a family's disintegration. (Jan.)