Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Published: September 15, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Hardcover, 384 pages
Summary: Self proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’ ” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked… until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant – along with several other unlikely candidates – to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City – and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine – Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Rating: I gave this 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads!
“There’s something to be said about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it.” –Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
I really REALLY liked this book. Coming from small town Alabama, this story was so believable. The south gets a bad wrap most of the time, but Julie Murphy definitely had the tone right on this one.
Willowdean was such an awesome character. She was confident, but not confident at the same time. I love how honest she was. She was fat, plain and simple, and she knows that, and she is both okay and not okay with it. I think that Will is someone that most girls, including myself, can relate to. Weight is probably something that every single girl has dealt with at some point in their lives, whether big or small. This topic is approached so honestly in this book. I love that so much. It is refreshing actually to read a book about a fat girl that has such a struggle with her weight, but doesn’t care at the same time. We all need a little bit of Willowdean in our lives.
The relationships in this book are so real. I think that is another reason I really enjoyed it. The relationship between her and Ellen was the most real thing I have ever read. The ups and downs they have take me right back to high school with my friend group when everything wasn’t always butterflies and rainbows, and sometimes it just hurts. The same with the boys Willowdean liked, she worried about what other people would rather than just listening to her heart. Her relationship with her mom was so believable. Her mom could be insane at times, and Willowdean let her have it, real quick. Her relationships were real, and there was absolutely no insta-love (PRAISE!), and I could read this book 100 times just for that. This was kind of deep, and real. Just so good.
I think my favorite character aside from Will was Millie. I just loved her and her ability to shine despite what other people thought of her. Really, all of Willowdean’s friends had quite a bit of shine to them whether they knew it or not. Willowdean included.
I just thought that this story was so relevant and relatable. Weight shaming is such a real thing happening in the world right now, and honestly it is just sad. Can we all just love one another and be proud of who we are? Do we always have to look a certain way or act a certain way? Because look around, literally every single person is different, in their own way. And you know, that is okay.
Dumplin’ was something I needed to read. This message is so solid, and we need more books like this. I wanted more at the end! Which it looks like Julie Murphy is writing a companion novel to come out next year, so yay!
If you need a pick-me-up, or are ever feeling down, pick this book up. By the end, you’re going to feel confident and beautiful, because it isn’t what you look like that really matters, but who you are.
Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading! (: