By Lisa Levy
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:41 AM EDT

A Girl Named Zippy

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When Haven Kimmel told her family she planned to write A Girl Named Zippy (Doubleday, $21), a memoir about their hometown, her older sister scoffed, ”I know who might read such a book. A person lying in a hospital bed with no television and no roommate…and then here comes a candy striper with a squeaky library cart and on that cart there is only one book — or maybe two books: yours, and Cooking With Pork. I can see how a person would be grateful for Mooreland then.” Kimmel, ”an afterthought” at least 10 years younger than her siblings, so completely re-creates the Mooreland, Ind. (population 300) of her early childhood that when she begins a chapter by stating that ”decoupage hit Mooreland pretty hard,” it’s easy to imagine the whole town sitting around a table full of cut-up magazines and shellac. Zippy is droll and distinctive in detailing life in Mooreland — the Fair Queen contest, the absence of proper addresses, the passing of pet dogs from one family to another through gambling — but it’s also unerring in relating the universal smallness of a rambunctious yet thoughtful child’s world.

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A Girl Named Zippy

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