Friday, January 11, 2013


By Frank Anthony Polito

Well, 2013 has gotten off to quite a start! And NOT necessarily in a good way... It's been a busy 10 days since returning from vacation, and frankly I've been in a bit of a funk. But things are starting to look up, and I'm hoping for some (quote-unquote) good news to share soon :-)

Last night I finished reading a lovely little memoir from 2001: A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. My good friend "Kenneth in the 212" forced it on loaned it to me a while back, and I admit that I was reluctant to dive right in. Not sure why.

Actually, I know the reason. "Who the hell is Haven Kimmel?!" I said to myself. Yes, I shamefully buy into the "only celebrities can write memoirs!" thinking that a lot of people have... Or am I the only one who believes this?

The book's subtitle is "Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana," but it might as well have been "Life in Hazeltucky" because the similarities to life in small town IN sound pretty much the same as small town MI. While she's a bit older (Kimmel was born in 1965), I could easily relate to a lot of the things she talked about in the memoir: references to '70s TV shows like Marcus Welby (I think -- don't have the book here in front of me as I type this), and the little electric organ with special keys for the chords (I had one of these, on which I learned to plunk out the melody to 99 Luftbalons and the Days of our Lives theme when I was a lonely kid in junior high).

As many of the reviews state, not much happens in this story of an atheist "oops baby" born into a Quaker family, but it's the way Kimmel turns a phrase that makes it such a good book. As I mentioned on my Facebook page, my favorite, laugh-out-loud line in this one is: "he wore the look men get in their forties when they've given up hope and plan to get even." 

I may have to steal that line if/when I ever sit down to pen my actual memoir!

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