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.
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Number of Pages: 384
Publishing Date: Sept. 15th, 2015
If there was one phrase that I could use to describe what I learned from this book it would be: if you’ve got it, flaunt it. I’m so happy and grateful that I received Dumplin’ in my September OwlCrate box. This book was freaking amazing. It was hilarious, heartwarming, and, most of all, it was inspiring. I fell in love with all of the characters and the plot and the message behind this book is so brilliant and so amazing. It sends out such a body positive message and I’ve truly been waiting for a book like this to be written.
“Sometimes figuring out who you are means understanding that we are a mosaic of experiences.”
I could sit here and try to type out a long non-spoiler review of why you should read this book, but honestly, you should just go read it. All you need to know is that this book is about a sassy, funny, and beautiful girl named Willowdean, her family, her friends, her love interests, a beauty pageant, red candy suckers, Texas, and Dolly Parton. And this book is simply amazing.
The rest of this review contains spoilers!
This book was such a body positive book. It showed that no matter what size or shape or color you are — you are unique, beautiful, and amazing. I loved that about this book. It really showed me not to care what others think and that loving yourself and who you are is good. *plays ‘Love Myself’ by Hailee Steinfeld* Julie Murphy did such an amazing job with sending out such a positive message through this book, YES JULIE YES.
Willowdean Opal Dickson. She just might be one of the fiercest characters that I’ve ever read about. She’s hilarious, she loves Dolly Parton, and she’s fat. BUT THAT’S OKAY. That’s not an insult. Willowdean accepts that she’s fat and she doesn’t want to change that. Willowdean is a pretty confident girl and she is okay with who she is, and that was one of the many things that I loved about this book. She knows that she shouldn’t care what others think of her, and while she does a few times, she finally learns to say “screw what everybody else thinks”. Nowadays, even the most confident of girls falter when it comes to worrying about what others think. And that’s okay. That’s human nature, and we learn to strive through it. And Willowdean is such a perfect example of that. She had her ups and she had her downs. But she always held her head high and she stands up for herself (and others) and she’s one of the most admirable heroines that I’ve ever gotten the opportunity to read about.
“I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it.”
Oh, how I love Bo. Is there a real-life Bo and if so where is he because I would like to marry him.
“Willowdean Opal Dickson, you are beautiful. Fuck anyone who’s ever made you feel anything less.” His chest heaves. “When I close my eyes, I see you. I can talk to you. In a way I never have with anyone else.”
We all need a Bo in our lives. I loved how Bo didn’t care about Willowdean’s shape or size or what other people would think about them as a couple. Bo loved Willowdean. That’s all that mattered to him and that’s honestly all that should ever matter. Appearance of a person should be a very tiny, minuscule factor when it comes to love, because it truly is about what’s on the inside, not the outside. I loved how Bo finally opened up more to Willowdean towards the end of the novel and I loved how the book ended with him just smiling at her and saying her name. It wasn’t them riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after; it was a personal, intense, and simplistic ending between Willowdean and Bo AND I LOVED THAT.
I absolutely adored all of Willowdean’s friends and family! They all had these funny personalities and quirks about them that I loved. I had a love-hate relationship with Willowdean’s mom, but her character development made me very happy. I think that her mom had good intentions most of the time, but she honestly wasn’t going about stuff the right way. I’m so glad that Willowdean’s mom became a bit more accepting and loving towards her daughter towards the end of the story. Millie, Hannah, and Amanda were all such great characters in the book and I honestly would love to see a sequel to Dumplin’ not only to see what happens with Willowdean and Bo’s relationship, but also to see how all of Willowdean’s friends and family are and what they’re up to!
Also, can I just say that there are so many quotes in this book that are amazing? Like, I just want to print them all out and hang them around my room.
Overall, this book was funny, witty, and beautiful. I can’t express how much I love this book. It’s definitely one of my favorites of 2015! I save my 5-star reviews for books that inspire me in a huge way, and this book did just that. I’d also like to add that I tweeted about how much I loved this book and Julie Murphy tweeted me back and I fangirled… a lot.
“All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on. Fat. Skinny. Short. Tall. It doesn’t matter.”
So, have you read Dumplin‘? Did you love it? Comment your thoughts on this book below!