Monday, August 24, 2015

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Summary (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.
I had a feeling I’d love this book, and I did. I remember posting it for a Waiting on Wednesday post way back when I first heard about it. I was super excited to meet Julie Murphy at BEA this year and pick up this ARC. The pub date is really soon (9/15), so you won’t have much of a wait on it.

I’ve never read a YA book or any book actually, where the main character was fat and not working hard to loose the fat. I needed this book. I think America needs this book. A book that says beauty comes in all sizes and that any girl should be able see herself as beautiful, confident, and worthy of love.
I was expecting it to be a bit different. The summary had me thinking that Willowdean would be confidant all the time. And she’s not. She’s very self-conscious. I was also expecting the whole story to be about the beauty pageant, and the pageant only took up a few pages toward the end, really.
The book was more about love and acceptance. I loved having a character who thought about her body so often. She thought about how she didn’t want the boy she was making out with to touch her back fat. She hated Halloween because costumes didn’t fit her. She hated the mall, where 90% of the stores there had clothes that also wouldn’t fit her. She hated that she was the center of attention all the time for something people generally seemed disgusted by. Girls assumed she was Ellen’s (her skinny best friend) charity case.
Yet, this main character is also strong. She doesn’t want to be a charity case or a secret. She wants it all. And she goes for it, even if she thinks about giving up along the way.
I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, and while I don’t think I’ve had it as bad or struggled with it as much as Willowdean, it’s something I super related to. So many of her arguments with her mother about food rung true for me. And I also liked that this was realistic too. Willowdean’s much-loved aunt died super young from a heart attack because of her obesity. Health issues aren’t ignored. They just aren’t the most important thing here. Most important is believing in yourself.
The only times I’ve read about a main character that was overweight was in a book where she would work really hard to lose the weight. And the only overweight side characters in books usually are ones we’re not supposed to like (like the Dursleys). So it was so nice to have this book.
There were some things I was not a fan of, like the ending, and the best friend. I wanted more to the ending. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to spoil a thing. I also never really liked Ellen much. I didn’t care one way or another if they made up at the end because the girl seemed to care way too much what others thought of her for me to respect her.
This book also had so much charm. There were after school jobs, first kisses, school dances, the beauty pageant, new friends, old friends, drag queens, confidence boosters, family drama, and so much more. Seriously, normally, I’d be focused more on what I didn’t like than I am. It’s just such a nice book that I can’t seem to focus on anything but the good. I give it a 9/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment