I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer & Bray on September 15th 2015
Source: the Publisher
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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.
Dumplin’ is a pretty damn enjoyable read! It’s really different from other contemporaries I’ve read lately, which made it such a refreshing book to read. The story and its characters are all so realistic and down-to-earth, then there’s a fair share of Dolly Parton wisdom, and of course Dumplin’ carries a great message about self-acceptance, about how you shouldn’t let fear, other people’s negativity, or a low self-esteem stop you from living your life. I mean, doesn’t that sound like the recipe for an incredible contemporary read?
An endless supply of amazing characters
Most lovable thing about Dumplin’ was the endless amount of amazing characters. I don’t mean that in the way that they’re perfect, the opposite really, they’re as flawed as any of us are, but they have SO MUCH depth! They have so many layers to them, and slowly they all get pulled back for the reader and we’re given a peek at the person beneath all those layers. I could relate with the main character, Willowdean, a lot. I think almost any girl can relate to her insecurities, but she also rubbed me the wrong way quite a few times View Spoiler » like the fight with her best friend? What’s up with that. I could understand where she was coming from, it was a gut-reaction, she didn’t about what she said, but girl get your head out of your ass. She was really mean to her friend, and she knew she’d been unreasonable. That fight went on for way too long! « Hide Spoiler. She’s bold, brave, no-nonsense, and (most of the time) doesn’t give a shit what other people think of her. What I admired most about her was that while, yes, she was unhappy with her body sometimes, she wanted to be happy in her body without having to change.
Julie Murphy explores the relationships between characters amazingly
I think the supporting characters might’ve been my absolute favorite part of this book. They were interesting, had depth, and each of them were unique in their own way. I like how Julie Murphy played with the relationships between Willowdean and her best friend, and especially Willowdean and her mother (whom I didn’t like too much). She really explored their relationships and it was interesting to read about how they these grew.
Dumplin’ has a romance with bumps along the way
The romance was good, but at a point I got a bit annoyed. Let’s start with what I did like: it was real, not some smooth and happy romance that has no bumps along the way, there were lots of bumps along the way and this made it realistic! And the way Willowdean approaches and describes her first time of falling in love was beautiful, endearing, and flat out hilarious at times.
However, I felt like Willowdean got stuck in this whole idea that no one could love her because she was “fat”, I mean, I get what it means to be insecure, I myself have struggled with my insecurities more times than I’d like to admit, but I honestly don’t understand what went wrong between Willowdean and Bo. I mean, it’s just BOOM over View Spoiler » and yes Bo acted like an asshole, but let’s be honest Willowdean doesn’t even give him the time to talk or explain « Hide Spoiler. I feel like Willowdean was so focussed on thinking that she was unwanted by everyone that she doing the very thing herself… which just made me sad and unhappy.
Dumplin’ is a fun and original contemporary read that leaves you with some interesting food for thought. The ending is a bittersweat and heartwarming: it’s realistic, it’s fun, and will leave you feeling ALL THE FEELS. I’ll definitely recommend this one to all the contemportary lovers out there!