I just had to read something by Haven Kimmel and the library had lost A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana , so I first met Zippy and her family a bit further on in their lives in the second installment of her autobiography, She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana. I read it by day and got up in the night to read some more, laughing and crying all the way.
My library was kind enough to buy another copy of the first installment so I've just finished reading A Girl Named Zippy, finding out more about the earlier days of the people I'd already met. When you think about it, reading autobiographies out of order is a lot like meeting people in real life--you meet them at whatever age they are, then find out more about their younger selves as they fill you in on their experiences.
With Zippy, I made myself sick from laughing twice by the time I could wipe away enough tears to see that I was only on page 7; and twice more before page 9. But Zip is tricky; you start out thinking that she will be treating you to a laugh riot throughout, then find that there are sad and even uncomfortable events to live through; again--just like real life.
The review from New York Newsday says: "While reading A Girl Named Zippy, I started to dog-ear each page that contained a charming anecdote, a garden-fresh metaphor, a characterization shrewd as those from Spoon River, or a madeleine substitute worthy of Proust. My copy soon came to resemble a cone..." It's true, I started putting in sticky notes on the best pages, but soon ran out.
Haven Kimmel has also written a novel, beautifully named The Solace of Leaving Early. The edition I had was published in the tiniest print--even younger people would have found it so. The effort I expended in reading the first few pages soon wore me down. The book started out with some intriguing little girls in medieval costumes with pointy hats and streaming scarves, floating around a Mooreland, Indiana-type town. There was an awful lot of discussion of ideas. I wish she hadn't written it.