She Got Up Off The Couch by Haven Kimmel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2006
The Short Version:
Kimmel’s follow up to her memoir of her childhood explores her mother’s efforts to assert herself in the early days of feminism.
Why I Read It:
I’m not a big memoir fan at all but I really enjoyed Kimmel’s story of her childhood and wanted to read this follow up.
From the publisher:
After twenty years of burrowing into the corner of the family couch, eating junk food, and reading science fiction, Indiana mother Delonda Jarvis did something that shocked her family: she went to college. Or, as her younger daughter, Haven Kimmel, writes, she “stood up, brushed away the pork rind crumbs, and escaped by the skin of her teeth.”
Despite having no money, no car, and a resentful husband, Delonda managed to obtain a master’s degree in English. The former teenage bride also dropped one hundred pounds, learned how to drive, and became a breadwinner. But as she reclaimed herself, her marriage disintegrated.
Based on the publisher’s description I expected this book to be more about Haven Kimmel’s mother than about the child who was the focus of A Girl Named Zippy. I’d read that memoir and enjoyed it and I’ve also explored Kimmel’s fiction in The Solace of Leaving Early. I liked the memoir better and have had this follow up on my TBR list for a long time.
When I realized that the title fit one of the categories for the What’s in a Name Challenge (A book with Up or Down in the title) I decided it was a good time to finally get this from the library.
I expected this to be primarily about Kimmel’s mother but it actually turned out to be more of a continuation of A Girl Named Zippy with the story of her Mother’s transformation in the background. Even though it wasn’t quite what I expected I did enjoy it a lot.
Kimmel has a wonderful way of telling stories. Each chapter reads as a standalone essay about her family and childhood but linked together they tell the story of her life with her mother’s story as a backdrop.
She has a way of telling her story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking with humor interspersed in a story of a family that had many many challenges.
I liked it a lot if you’ve read A Girl Named Zippy I recommend this follow up. If you haven’t, I recommend you read Zippy first.