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She Got Up Off the Couch


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About the Author

Haven Kimmel is the author of The Used World, She Got Up Off the Couch, Something Rising (Light and Swift), The Solace of Leaving Early, and A Girl Named Zippy. She studied English and creative writing at Ball State University and North Carolina State University and attended seminary at the Earlham School of Religion. She lives in Durham, N.C.


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 na?vet? and an arresting account of a family's disintegration. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

In this hilarious and heartbreaking appreciation of her mother, Kimmel (The Solace of Leaving Early) takes up where she left off in A Girl Named Zippy with more stories about her family and friends and her hometown of Mooreland, IN, once again narrating from a child's point of view. After 20 years of marriage, mother-of-three Delonda Jarvis takes a television ad as a sign from God that the time has come for her to take a College Level Entrance Placement test. Her many years of reading and native intelligence work to her advantage, and she aces the test, but going back to college isn't so simple: Mrs. Jarvis doesn't know how to drive and has a minimal wardrobe and very little money. What she lacks in financial resources, however, is more than made up by her fortitude, determination, and ingenuity. Zippy's siblings, Dan and Melinda, make cameo appearances, as do her childhood friends Julie, Rose, and Maggie. Kimmel hints at rather than reveals the family tensions in these essays (with 31 black-and-white photographs throughout), which are destined to make readers fall in love with Zippy all over again.-Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"She Got Up Off the Couch returns to the small-town life that made Kimmel's childhood memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, a bestseller. But this less-sunny sequel looks more tellingly at things that were glossed over in the first book. Zippy's father, for example, is hardly the hero she worshiped as a young girl. And the dirt and disorder the tomboy gloried in has a darker reason: After decades married to a gambler, Delonda had given up. Kimmel never indulges in bitterness, but by the end a reader will be in no doubt about the Kilimanjaro of obstacles her mother scaled on her way off that couch."
-- The Christian Science Monitor
"It is Kimmel's mother's journey from beaten-down housewife to university student and schoolteacher, told through Zippy's irresistible voice, that forms the backbone of She Got Up Off the Couch. Kimmel deftly chronicles a child's awakening to a world outside tiny Mooreland..."
-- The Miami Herald

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