Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Star rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 stars
Format: library eaudiobook
Summary: Willowdean, self proclaimed fat girl, has to face her mother’s beauty pageant season without her aunt for the first time. Inspired to shake that status quo, Willowdean enters into the pageant her mother runs.
Review: This book has been on my radar for a while, I ended up watching the movie– mainly because I saw some of the locations they filmed at while I was in Georgia last year. I ended up really liking the movie so I put myself on a waitlist for the book finally.
I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle in the book. I felt like Willowdean wasn’t treating Mitch well at all. He was such a sweet guy that genuinely cared for her and she never seemed to give any real shit about him. He really deserved better because he was treated so shitty. And I’m sorry but I don’t think Bo was better than Mitch. He could be kind of a jerk a lot of the time and Mitch was just the best.
Also I heard so many people say this book is really body positive and like.. Maybe at the end? But through the whole book it’s a hot mess. Willowdean is super judge mental about everyone’s bodies, the skinny girls, the other fat girl, the girl with uneven legs, the girl with large teeth… And in the end all I can say for sure is that she feels more confident in her own skin, I don’t think she’s any less judgmental of others.
Willowdean is also a huge jerk to her friends. I had a hard time finding her to be a sympathetic character for a good portion of the book. She expects Ellen to apologize to her when she’s the one that should and then gets all upset Ellen does bend over for her. I think she does do some growing by the end but damn.
So if the main character is so annoying why didn’t I give it a lower rating? The writing is just so good. Even though I didn’t care about Willowdean, the writing made me invested in the book. It’s super engaging and as annoying as I found her I didn’t want to quit the book. That’s some pretty impressive writing if you can keep me invested in a story about a character I have a hard time standing.
Recommendation: The main character may annoy me and it may not be as body positive as the summary leads people to believe but it’s very well written. I think it’s worth a read or if you can’t work yourself up to read in it, honestly the movie was kind of better in a lot of ways plot wise.