Author: Julie Murphy Series: Dumplin #1 Genre: Fiction Release Date: September 15, 2015 Book Length: 371 pages Publisher: Balzer + Bray Review: 4/5
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 Clover City 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.
Beautiful, he says. Fat, I think. But can’t I be both at the same time?
Finally. Finally I’ve read a book whose movie did it justice (and was maybe even better than the book?) – I really enjoyed this.
Willowdean Dickson, or Dumplin’, as her mom calls her, is a plus-sized Texas teen who decides to compete in the annual Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant which her mother and former winner of the pageant is running. Will’s initiative sparks other girls who wouldn’t have otherwise to join the pageant as well, which I loved.
Other things I loved:
• Millie! – Millie was one of the girls that Will inspired to also join the pageant. I thought Will was pretty confident in her skin, until I met Millie. I think Will sort of did care what other people thought, but Millie was completely oblivious to anything but her own happiness, kind of like a child, and it was endearing.
• The setting – this book made me want to go to Texas, although I felt like I was already there when reading.
• Bo – I loved the scenes with Bo and Will, I was rooting so hard for them to get together.
• The focus on Will’s relationship with her late aunt – Will was really close to her aunt Lucy, and I thought the way the author portrayed the stages of grief after her loss was done really well.
Things I didn’t like:
• Will and Mitch – Oh my. Where to begin with this? It was really sad and cringe worthy having to read through the parts where Will was leading Mitch on for ¾ of the book! I feel like the truth should have come out way sooner and in a much more mature way than it did.
• How mean Will was to basically everyone – her best friend Ellen, her mom, Mitch… the list can go on. Ellen was supposed to be her best friend, but they didn’t talk for ¾ of the book. She went on and on about how much she missed her, but was too proud to apologize for majority of the book; I almost forgot they were supposed to be best friends.
Being comfortable in your own skin is an uphill battle that I think everyone faces from time to time. Sometimes it is difficult not to let our decisions be affected by what we think others will think of us, or by how we think we will look if we step out of our comfort zone. This book’s message is that anybody can do anything they set their mind to, and that you should live your life based on what makes you happy, not by what others will think is the societal norm for you. Overall a great book with a positive message. Definitely want to read the next book in the series!