She Got Up Off the Couch

And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana

She Got Up Off the Couch

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.
  • Free Press | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743285001 | 
  • February 2007
List Price $22.00


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Reading Group Guide

She Got Up Off the Couch
By Haven Kimmel
Reading Group Discussion Guide


When we last saw Zippy Jarvis, she was completely oblivious to the storm that was brewing in her home-her mother, Delonda, had literally just gotten up off the couch and disappeared down the road on her bicycle. Zippy's dad was mysteriously absent. And Zippy was lost in her own fabulous world, exploring the fringes of her hometown of Mooreland, Indiana, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral.

In She Got Up Off the Couch, Haven Kimmel revisits this quirky, chaotic habitat, as she catches up with old characters and new. Zippy's further adventures include witnessing her mother overcome the emotional claustrophobia of her small-town, married-with-children life. Zippy watches as Delonda conquers her depression and learns how to drive a car, even though she doesn't have regular access to one once she's learned. Against her husband's wishes, Delonda gets up her courage to apply to the local college and graduates with honors at the age of forty. In many ways, this is Zippy's mother's book- even as we are entertained by the many stories involving small animals and Zippy's endearing friends, a profound sympathy emerges for the strong mother who found a way not only to save herself, but to set a proud example for her devoted daughter.

Discussion questions

1. "Mooreland, Indiana, was paradise fo see more

More Books from this Author

Kaline Klattermaster's Tree House
The Used World
Something Rising (Light and Swift)

About the Author

Haven Kimmel
Photo Credit:

Haven Kimmel

Haven Kimmel is the author of The Used World, She Got Up Off the Couch, Something Rising (Light and Swift), The Solace of Leaving Early, and A Girl Named Zippy. She studied English and creative writing at Ball State University and North Carolina State University and attended seminary at the Earlham School of Religion. She lives in Durham, N.C.