Dumplin’ by: Julie Murphy Review

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Dumplin’ by: Julie Murphy

Genre: Contemporary/ YA

Rating: 3.5/5 stars


So, I have been in quite the contemporary mood as of lately, it might have a little to do with the fact that classes are back in session and I have been dying for something fluffy and cute. Now, with Dumplin’ I got exactly what I asked for and a little something more. This novel has started controversy in the book world since it’s mention and I am here to stump those negativity Nancys. I would gladly like to start this post with the obvious fact that I am not completely aware of the negativities that this book summons upon, and I would also like to mention that this book in no way claims to be a pro body positive campaign. Murphy wrote a story about a confident young girl, who like most her age, has flaws and insecurities and expresses that by her own means of dealing with it. Now, we are told right off the bat that Willowdean “Dumplin’” Dickson is a self-proclaimed “fat girl.” This spurs the body positive theme that all have claimed Murphy expresses throughout Willowdean’s story. I do not disagree that her weight is a heavy topic throughout the plot but I would like to touch upon the synopsis quickly.

Willowdean Dickson, the self proclaimed fat girl, the best friend to Ellen the all American beauty and the daughter of Blue Bonnet’s pageant queen. Life is good when you feel good in your own skin and Willowdean expresses this comfortability throughout her days in small-town Clover City. That is until Bo Larson begins working at Harpy’s and makes Willowdean realize her insecurities are more than skin deep.

Murphy touches upon the highs and lows of high school life, both through the eyes of a distraught teenager with the biggest funny bone, a band of unlikely misfits, new friendships, drag queens, being yourself, peachbutt boys and a snippet of pageant life. There are many likes and dislikes I can mention about this book; I can talk about how I went into this book with clear interest but not with high expectations. I can refer to how I was intrigued to read my first real “fat girl” book. But mostly? I was attracted to this like many other readers, hype and constant positive reviews but the controversy in this book is what sprung me to really make the full commitment.

[SPOILER] Its that time folks, here comes my spoiler-y points about Dumplin’.

  1. + Willowdean was fun, comforting, hilarious and real.
  2. + Lee was my favourite character; I wish I was friends with a Dolly Parton drag queen-alike.
  3. + I enjoyed the band of misfits and the friendship they all shared with one another in the second half of the book.
  4. – Bo Larson is a jerk.
  5. + Bo Larson got better.
  6. – I wish Willowdean and Ellen made up sooner.
  7. – I was so not into the minor characters, Callie and Bekah were just add-on’s.
  8. – Love triangle? Was that necessary?
  9. + Family bonding and friendships > cute boys any day.
  10. + I enjoyed Mitch, but there wasn’t enough of him.
  11. – I wish the pageant wasn’t shoved in last minute as if it wasn’t the main point mentioned in the plot line.
  12. + The writing style was unique, a reason why I couldn’t put it down.

All in all, Dumplin’ is worth the read and I recommend it for anyone looking for something that is more than just what it seems. If you’re a Dolly Parton fan? Pick it up. If you like quirky unique writing? Pick it up. If you like pageant books? Meh, get ready for a ride before you get to pageant city.

Sincerely, C.

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