Dumplin' Review

Title: Dumplin'
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

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.

Me: What a great book with a great message. Something that could be very risky, and Julie Murphy has done it so well. 

The Ups: I loved Willowdean, and everything she stood for. I went into the book expecting just your average fat girl who would lecture about body standards and beauty stereotypes and might bore the socks off of me. But Willowdean (I love that name, where did she get it) had a very distinct character. I felt like I knew her as a person very well, and yet she still said what she needed to say about weight and beauty and insecurity all around. 

She knew who she was, and claimed to be proud of it. I didn't really doubt that she didn't love her body. But she was still insecure about it at times, and I appreciated that. Yes, the ideal is to love your body completely and without shame, but in reality, that's almost impossible. The thing is Willowdean tries to get pretty close to loving her skin entirely. 
She also had a lot of flaws. She could occasionally be very rude to other fat girls who didn't seem as cool or to skinny pageant girls who looked fake and didn't seem to have a speck of intelligence. Some say that that seemed hypocritical of the author and the character, but I have to point out she gets over it. This is a book that touches a sensitive area in society and literature, and in real life, we judge people. It's nothing new. The important thing is we try to stop it, we don't act upon our first thoughts, and I could see Willowdean growing to that point as a character.
Like I said before, I love that this book shares this important, personal message to the public. Whether you consider yourself fat or not, whether you think being fat is beautiful or not, this book will open your eyes to a new perspective. 
I also loved all the texas references...Proud Texan, y'all :)

The Downs: I didn't really like the romance...at all. Yes, "hot" people can love "fat" people. Of course, because love should know no limits. But I didn't think that it was necessary to almost force a romance just to assert that part. I didn't think their personalities matched...in fact, I felt like I didn't really know Bo that well at all, and after a while, I kinda gave up trying to know him. 

Overall: A book with a great message but lacking in an interesting romance.

Rating: 4 kisses!

Let me just take this moment to say: You are amazing, beautiful, smart, talented, kind, wonderful, and fabulous no matter who you are. Thank you, and rock on!


  1. Awww what a cute review! I've seen this book floating around, perhaps I should give it a try!

  2. I've been thinking about reading this. It sounds pretty different from other contemporaries, so I'm hoping to like it.

    1. I hope you do, Emma! Thanks for stopping by!