"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
In this sequel to the top-selling A Girl Named Zippy, the woman rising heroically from the couch is Zippy's mother, Dolonda. After years of languorous existence, this oversized couch potato emerged from the den to pursue a higher education. Dolonda was well read but in other ways seemed ill suited for college: This middle-aged, 260-pound coed had a husband who disapproved of the entire venture, no driver's license, and almost no money. Like its predecessor, She Got Up Off the Couch holds our attention with its sympathetic rendering of idiosyncratic family characters. Hilarious; heartbreaking; ultimately empowering.
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 2005 Reed Business Information.
In Kimmel's follow-up to her well-received memoir about growing up in a tiny Indiana town (A Girl Named Zippy, 2001), the "She" of the title is Kimmel's mother, whose mid-life decision to attend college in the early 1970s disrupted her family's equilibrium. Kimmel picks up where she left off: The Jarvis family is still in Mooreland, a town of 300 where everyone knows not only your name but most of your business. Zippy's best friends are still Rose and Julie. Her much older sister Melinda is still bedeviling her. Her seriously overweight, clearly depressed mother is still sitting on the couch reading book after book while Zippy's slightly mysterious father still comes and goes as he pleases. And Zippy is still a carefree tomboy frequently getting into humorous scrapes and secure in the bosom of friends and family. But change is in the air. Melinda gets married and is soon raising her own babies, the two new loves in Zippy's life. Zippy's father, after retiring early from his factory job on disability, volunteers as a sheriff's deputy. School consolidation introduces new friends into Zippy's life. Most important, Zippy's mother Delonda, who left behind her ambitions and middle-class background when she married Bob Jarvis at 17, decides to attend Ball State University. Despite having no money, no driver's license and a disapproving husband, she makes the daily commute-she pays expenses on her VW beetle by becoming a driving advertisement for Herbal Essences shampoo-and excels in her classes, going on to earn her masters and teach English at the local high school. As Delonda's horizons broaden, her marriage falls apart. Kimmel carefully limits the darkness to the edges until the lastchapters, but sadness at losing her father to divorce permeates her stories, leavening their tendency toward cuteness. Fans will find this go-round less zippy (forgive the pun), but more honest.