She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts From Mooreland, Indiana
In this sequel to A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY, Haven Kimmel continues the saga of her family who resided in the very small town of Mooreland, Indiana. The anecdotes of the Jarvis family are sometimes humorous, often poignant, and always believable. The author had not intended to write a sequel, but everywhere she went while promoting A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY her fans clamored to know if Delonda got up off the couch. Indeed she did.
Zippy's mother spent many years at her command post, the couch, reading all types of books, knitting lovely things and eating crunchy junk food. She spoke softly and secretively into the telephone to her friends from church. The family came and went while Delonda maintained her spot on the couch. She seemed like a fixture in the room.
But nothing remains the same forever. Delonda, the couch potato, had some powerful stirrings to participate in the outside world --- especially to drive a car and to attend college. Her husband, an extremely self-centered fellow, had no interest in his wife's ambitions nor in assisting her in any way. But the church ladies, her always-available support group, encouraged her to act on her ambitions.
Zippy was absorbed in her own life. She was a rambunctious tomboy who loathed taking baths and wearing shoes. She hated her hair and really disliked wearing dresses. If there was mischief to be found, Zippy usually instigated it. She seemed fearless, which might account for her frequent trips to the emergency room. Zippy was the youngest child, and her father often took her fishing or for rides in his truck. Even though the family lived in a wreck of a house and sometimes had their utilities shut off for nonpayment, her father always had money to dress well and keep a nice vehicle on the road.
Melinda, Zippy's older sister, loved to torment Zippy. She married and had a baby, Josh, whom Zippy, tomboy that she was, adored and loved to help take care of. Zippy's older brother Dan was mostly a memory to Zippy. She recalled his ramrod posture, his piety, and his terrible temper. He married and left their hometown without looking back or keeping in touch. Zippy often wondered why Dan abandoned the family.
Delonda took the College Level Exam Program test and passed with flying colors, earning 40 college credits. All those years of reading everything she could get her hands on from the bookmobile had paid off. Now she was really determined to pursue her dream. She tackled the next hurdle, learning to drive --- not an easy task for an adult who does not have access to something to drive. A church friend stepped in and helped prepare Delonda for the open road. Within two years Delonda received her college degree, earned with a perfect 4.0, and she had lost over 100 pounds. Clearly, Delonda intended to reinvent herself. And she was just getting started. Never again would she be housebound or dependent upon someone else for financial support.
The Jarvis family is, in many ways, just like any family, with its successes, failures and secrets. Zippy has given her family a unique voice. Though she writes from the perspective of a child, the words ring true to an adult's way of thinking. It is very likely that Zippy learned a great deal about herself, family dynamics in general, and especially about her mother's courage and determination as she wrote these witty, honest, painful and heartfelt anecdotes.
Reviewed by Carole Turner on January 23, 2011