I’ve become aware of Dumplin‘ during the book fair back in March in Leipzig. My lovely bookfriend Jill was crazy about this book and talking about it like all the time. When I was at a day trip in London in April I couldn’t resist and bought the book. I got all the more excited as Jill wanted to read this book together! Reading with somebody else at the same time is the best thing when it comes to reading times. It is great to have somebody to talk to while reading a specific book. Though we enjoyed our time I wasn’t as thrilled about the book in the end as I was hoping for at the beginning.
Title: Dumplin‘ – Go big or go home | Author: Julie Murphy | Number of pages: 384 | Genre: Teen Book | Publisher: Balzer & Bray | Price: 9,15 € | ISBN: 9780062327185 | Where can you get it? Amazon* [Germany] Amazon [UK] Amazon [US]
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. [goodreads]
Humoristic, emotional with a big message behind it
The cover brings up some presumptions as to what to expect of the topic of the book: A woman with curves is stretching her arms above her head as though she is standing on stage, receiving applause. Close to that Willowdean, our lovely protagonist, is appearing in front of the reader. Though her audience isn’t waiting in front of a stage but in her school in the form of classmates. And the stage is actually her life. Willowdean isn’t making a secret out of her overweight, she is telling us over and over again that she is fat and that we should stop thinking about that word as an insult but rather as a fact about her body, without prejudices or valuation.
But there have been times when I really stopped myself from doing something special. All because I was scared someone might look at me and decide I wasn’t good enough. But you don’t have to bother with that nonsense. I wasted all that time so you don’t have to.
Lucy | Dumplin‘ | Julia Murphy | page 26
The humor of Willowdean affects the reader from the very first sentence on. I couldn’t stop reading because of Willowdeans comments and thoughts about her life, her friends and everything that is happening around her. She is so funny that I caught myself a few times laughing out loud. Because of her humor the story soaked me in and didn’t let me out until I finished reading. By the use of easy language and the casual writing style it was quite relaxing getting through the story. It is the typical language that you can find in most teen books.
The truth is that I’m mad I felt uncomfortable to begin with, because why should I? Why should I feel bad about wanting to get into a pool or standing around in my swimsuit? Why should I feel like I need to run in and out of the water so that no one has to see the atrocity that are my thighs?
Willowdean | Dumplin‘ | Julie Murphy | page 32
I loved the way each character was drawn with their very own imperfections. There were quite a few times I wanted to shake Willowdean to senses. I wanted to tell her that she should stop preventing herself from living the life she deserved. But in the next moment I realized the following: She is just a human being. As everyone else. Which means that she has to fight with herself, her thoughts and characteristics. Julie Murphy was showing us that point so perfectly clear: Everyone is in their own imperfection perfect. We just have to figure out how to live with our weakness to gain strength out of it.
I suck in a breath. This is what it feels like when your life starts happening, I think.
Willowdean | Dumplin‘ | Julie Murphy | page 45
I liked that the drama took place out of the normal day life and not by using one catastrophe after another. It is easy to understand Willowdeans thoughts because Julie Murphy uses situations everyone had to fight through. There are no special effects, no Hollywood drama. Just life as it is. There have been a lot of moments where the thought crossed my mind that I myself lived through that very same moment.
It’s not like I’ve ever been extra eloquent or anything, but what comes out of my mouth in front of Bo Larson doesn’t even qualify as verbal diarrhea. It’s more like the verbal runs, which is gross.
Willowdean | Dumplin‘ | Julie Murphy | page 8
The only thing I would negatively point out is that after half of the book the story became a little bit too long. There wasn’t happening anything knew so that I’ve got bored over the the time and got the feeling I was running in circles. The end on the other hand was perfectly written. I liked it a lot.
Julie Murphy has written a humorous high school teen book with a lovely protagonist and a sweet reading time. The message of the book is pointing out insecurities of every human being and that sometimes it is ok not to be ok. Everyone has a little secret about their own weakness and imperfection and we shouldn’t forget that the tiny things are the ones which make us perfect in our very own way.