Title: Dumplin’ Author: Julie Murphy Publisher: Harper Collins Published: 28th January 2016 Pages: 371 Format: Hardback Source: Bought Add It:Goodreads. Amazon. 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 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 cannot tell you enough how good it was to read a book with a fat girl protagonist where the main story wasn’t her needing to lose weight, or trying to lose weight but simply embracing her size. That being said, I also really struggled with this book. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why but something just felt a little off to me. Of course, I still very much enjoyed the book and found myself fully immersed in the book but there was always just this niggling feeling of something being not quite right in my brain. However, I certainly wouldn’t tell people to avoid this book – in fact, I would still highly recommend it. It details all the highs and lows of friendship, grief, loss and appearance. First loves, first kisses, and basically just learning to be who you’re meant to be.
One of the things I absolutely adored about this book is the way it looks at friendships. First of all through the best friend of Ellen, how even strong friendships can crack a little under the pressure but that that doesn’t mean it has to be the end. I also loved the new friendships that Willowdean creates in the book. These girls are all different and not likely to have been friends in normal circumstances but together they become strong and resilient and I absolutely loved reading that. Then again, we all know that I absolutely love my friendship books! This book really does show the trials and tribulations of friendships.
On top of that, I also really loved the part where Will and her friends go to see a Dolly Parton tribute act. I won’t spoil it but this part was just so lovely – as was the moment when they returned for the owners to help them with their pageant work. It was a lovely moment of acceptance and diversity that I just truly loved. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So overall this book is definitely one to read. It’s been out for a few years now but it is still just as important and interesting to read at the moment. I still don’t know why something felt a little off to me because, as you can see, I did really enjoy the book. It may just have been one of those odd things were I just wasn’t in quite the right mood so I might have to re-read it in a little while to find out. That being said, if you’re looking for a book that is full of friendship, navigating first love and first kisses, then this is definitely the right book for you. As well, of course, as a book that celebrates all of our differences – the big (pardon the pun) all the way to the small.