June 5, 2018

[REVIEW] Dumplin'

title: Dumplin'
author: Julie Murphy
genre: young adult, contemporary
published: September 15, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
format: hardcover, 384 pages
purchase: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
rating: 3 / 5 stars
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.
Willowdean is definitely a protagonist worth rooting for!

The only book I read that deals with the fat-girl representation was Sugar and I absolutely LOVE that book. It's got great character development, the background story you'll expect from a book about a fat girl, and a really well developed romance which I LOVED! And it is one of my fave books.

I dive into Dumplin' somehow, thinking about that. Thinking that maybe they'll have similarities.

And ohmy, I was stand corrected.

Dumplin' isn't just a book about a fat girl. It's about a far girl who lives like she isn't. Well except from the constant reminder from her mom... Julie Murphy dealt with body love in an obvious but not very on your face way (does that even make sense? probably not. lol). What I'm saying is that this isn't even remotely different from your usual YA contemporaries in terms of tone because Willowdean seem like the usual YA female protagonist.

It was a mixture of good and not so good thing for me, to be honest. But Dumplin' still perfectly worked out for me.

"I don't know. I think you gotta be who you want to be until you feel like you are whoever it is you're trying to become. Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can." -p239

I LOVED Willowdean through and through. She had her insecurities. She knows she's fat and her mother, ironically, is a former beauty queen. I like how Willowdean carries herself. She always tries to put up a strong front and how she just tries to be confident all the time. And yes, there are times when you can't always keep that facade and that's what really makes Willowdean your usual girl. Sometimes you'll forget that she's fat and think that she's just like everyone else who gets that tinge of insecurity when forced to deal with things like her bestfriend finding another friend she might strongly relate to or a guy she absolutely likes and might also feel the same way about her.

I really like Willowdean's relationship with her mother and her friendship with Ellen were done here. I like how they all just flowed naturally. How the conflicts just felt right and were brought up and resolved at the right moment with the right events.

What really felt unnatural for me here was the romance. Bo was a really adorable boy and while I do like him, his feelings for Willowdean just didn't really felt natural for me. To be honest, I have NO IDEA how to talk about this. It's just that, Bo liking Willowdean right of the bat just didn't sit right for me. And their whole relationship just didn't felt that strong for me.

I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won't zip. -p369

OVERALL, Dumplin' is a really cute story about  being satisfied with yourself with a dash of romance, friendship, and mother-daughter relationship. Also throw in a beauty pageant and Dolly Parton right there! Even though the romance didn't work out for me, Dumplin' is still a very enjoyable light contemporary read! Willowdean is definitely a protagonist worth rooting for!

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1 comment:

  1. Oooh darn. I'm probably not going to be okay with the off romance! That usually makes it really hard for me to enjoy a book overall, even if the heroine's amazing. :( Awesome review, though!

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always


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