Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Title: Dumplin’

Series: Dumplin’ #1

Author: Julie Murphy

Pub Date: 2014

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

View on Goodreads | Buy on amazon.co.uk |amazon.com | Book Depository | Wordery


Synopis from Goodreads:

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.

 Dumplin’ is a lighthearted story and a nice read. But it’s not amazing. I like reading it, well, listening to an audiobook, but the story wasn’t that interesting, and I was just getting bored at times. I was hoping for more funny moments. However, I’m happy I read this book and I’d recommend you to read this book. Mainly because of the characters, who are unique and diverse, and you rarely read about such characters.

The main character is Willowdean. She could be like any other character, but she is fat. And that distinguishes her and this book from all the contemporary YA novels. I have mixed feelings about Will. There were moments when I really liked her and moments when I really disliked her. But throughout the story, I could relate to her. First, she is not perfect, and she is not immune to being mean and judgmental. I may condemn such behaviour, but I’m also not immune to it. We all sometimes are mean and judgmental, no matter how much we try not to be. Secondly, Will is fat, and I’m also fat. Parts of book that talk about her body and how she thinks about it, and how it affects her life, especially her love life, were the most precious parts of the book for me because those were painfully true to me, and I could understand. In those moments I could fully understand how important diversity is in books because nothing can replace the feeling of seeing a person like you in a book, of reading about her struggles of being of certain body type, nationality or else. The third thing that helped me relate to Will so well, was her relationship with her mum. Will is fat, and her mother is slim, and remaining slim is really important to her. And she cannot understand why being slim is not important to her daughter. She loves Will very much, but still is unable to look at her and wonder how better her life would be if she just loses some weight. I could understand Will’s relationship with mum very well.

I’m glad this book exists, and I hope it will help a lot of fat girls to feel better about themselves and their bodies and will help them figure out their relationship with their mothers and friends, and potential love interests. It’s not the most riveting story, but it’s entertaining and emotional in parts. I’m not impressed with the book ending, and I’m not impressed with Will’s love interest, I’d prefer to see her with another character from the book that in my opinion was kinder to Will.

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10 thoughts on “Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

  1. TeacherofYA says:

    I know all about being heavy too. (I hate the word fat. It’s an ugly sounding word to me, lol).
    My mom says the same things to me that Will’s mom says to her: “I just know how much happier you would be if you lost weight!” My mom isn’t heavy, but she isn’t skinny anymore. She was anorexic for years and she still thinks like one. As a kid, she used to tell me to remember, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” It was a horrible childhood for me.
    There was ONE book about a plus sized girl when I was a kid, and it was called Blubber by Judy Blume. It was not positive.
    Now things have changed. But perceptions haven’t. People still think of us as “fat.” I see myself as extra-awesome, because there’s more of me to love, lmao! No, seriously, I’ve been losing weight lately with some help and it’s great, but I work at Lane Bryant, a popular plus-sized store, and I’m all about loving your body. Out here in the Midwest, I seem to get a lot more attention for my looks (positive) then when I lived in Arizona. AZ was like LA, with a lot of Barbie girls. I’m very happy here.
    If you ever need another big girl to talk to, I’m here. I know how it is. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ola says:

      Thank you for this! I personally don’t mind word ‘fat’, but it’s horrible that such a simple world can be used as a awful insult. The body positive movement didn’t come to Poland in a full mode just yet, and truly, most of harmful words about my look were coming from a family, and this hurts the most.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TeacherofYA says:

        Yes, me too. Because our family isn’t supposed to see us as fat or thin. Just us. And love us unconditionally.
        I hope the movement comes fully because body shaming has changed a lot in the US. When people used to yell at me or fight with me, they would throw the fat insults at me. Now, it seems like a topic they refuse to broach, which is nice.
        But we can never change our mom’s minds. Hopefully, with time, they’ll both learn to love us as we were made. 😘

        Like

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