Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Fat girls, rejoice- there is a book for us!

Dumplin' - Julie Murphy
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.

Remember when I told you about my very first OwlCrate box? Well this is the book that I had received but I'm only now getting to it. I know, it's taken awhile but at least I got it read before my next box arrives, right? Let us all call it a win anyways. 

First up, the book is geared towards a YA audience but I don't even care because I could absolutely identify with Willowdean. All of the teenage awkwardness came rushing back and it was such a reminder of what high school was for so many of us who couldn't fit into a cheerleading costume to save their life so they just did nothing at all and had no boyfriends and worked at a fast food restaurant every weekend because she was guaranteed to be the only one available because you didn't get invited to anything. Willowdean is just like me, and that's why I love her. The other great thing about this book is that not only could my teenage self relate to this, but my grown up self can too because the things Willowdean feels about herself doesn't go away with age, sometimes it actually just gets worse. 

So let's talk about the book. We have Willowdean, also known as Dumplin', and she's the teenage daughter of a former hometown beauty pageant and the niece of a dead aunt who was morbidly obese. Willowdean isn't thin by any means but she's just really realistic about it. She has her best friend Ellen, who is skinny and tall, and they are basically like sisters from another mother. But as is the case with high school, the drift apart a bit and their friendship is tested, as a result of new friends and you've guessed it- the local beauty pageant. Meanwhile, Willowdean has her eyes set on her co-worker Bo, who is athletic and model worthy and when they begin testing the waters, Willowdean doesn't feel confident enough in her own skin to accept that someone of the opposite might actually be attracted to her. She assumes the worst and worries that she'll be that girl with a hot boyfriend and everyone will wonder how did SHE get HIM. 

The best part of the book for me was how much I related to her. It was like the author knew me personally and was like, "Let me write a story about her as a teenager and see what happens" and it was so spot on. One line that I'm strongly considering framing for my bookshelf is on page 207, 

"There are moments in my life when I feel like I know everything and that I've left no rock unturned. But things like this remind me of how small my world is." 

Like, DAMN. Nevermind this was part of a passage where Willowdean and her group of fellow unattractive friends join the local beauty pageant as way to say, "Hey- we're ugly and/or fat but we can totally participate", and they find themselves at a Dolly Parton night at a gay bar. Which is something that would totally be something I would inadvertently attend. 

Even better is when we get to pageant training and the absurdity of it all, and you are reminded this is taking place in the deep south and there are things like ice tea and barbecue ribs you don't mess around with. Page 335, 

"They serve us barbecue for lunch. I think that maybe lunch is some secret component of our final score because there is no higher achievement for a southern woman than the ability to eat barbecue and walk away stain free."

The entire book is about Willowdean trying to get through being a teenager, trying to learn how to love herself for what she is, trying to accept compliments and love from someone else, working on the rocky relationship with her mother, repairing her friendship with Ellen and.. Bo. Oh Bo. I really liked Bo. 

I absolutely adored this book and I really enjoyed every second of it. To be honest, I don't know why this book is getting mixed reviews because I thought it was highly entertaining. The only fault I can really find in it is the ending felt rushed. Like we worked so hard to get there and it didn't leave me fully satisfied. Not everything gets an "ending" but it isn't enough of a flaw to mark the book down or to not recommend it fully. I know some people are slamming this as a skinny shaming book and to that I say, oh stop it already. Seriously. Stop it. It's like these reviewers have forgotten what it was like in high school. The author nailed the inner voices of teenage girls perfectly. Anyways. 

I totally recommend it. I loved it and it's a fun read. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Happy reading! 

1 comment:

jn said...

Hi Sara.....I thought of you this am....actually you and Andrea. I ran across this blog called "idealistmom" and when I read some of her posts I thought they were good food for thought. Take a peak and see what you think.
Hope you're having a good day.....
God Bless