Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I know I’m a million years late, but I finally read Dumplin’! I knew I was going to like it, because I’m a big fan of fat girls owning themselves and doing whatever the heck they want, but seeing that there was a movie adaptation was what pushed me over the edge. 

Dumplin’ is about Willowdean Dixon, an overweight 16 year old whose mom runs the local beauty pageant. Her whole life, Willowdean has felt like a bit of an outsider with her mom, but until last year, she had her aunt Lucy there to help her. 

Willowdean goes through a lot in this book; romance that feels wrong, romance that she’s not into, getting into a friendship ending fight with her best friend, and making new friends. Even more wild than all of that, Willowdean enters the beauty pageant. She is very much a black sheep, but she sticks to her guns and does it her way. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was a fun romp with a Dolly Parton soundtrack, but I don’t think it lived up to the hype. I was expecting more of this to be centered around the pageant, but it was a lot about her friends. I was kind of disappointed in Willowdean for not working on rehearsing, or trying to do the things everyone else seemed so focused on – I don’t mean losing weight, but practicing a routine, finding a dress, all that jazz. She didn’t seem interested; the pageant was just a way to spite her mother. 

I enjoyed this book. I was very into the ending, and cheered for Millie the whole time. Though I wasn’t a big fan of Willowdean and her procrastination, I did enjoy the book. I think there were some well written and interesting characters, but overall it wasn’t really for me. 

If you’ve read Dumplin’, how did you feel about it? I’ll be watching the movie for next week; does it hold up to the book?













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3 thoughts on “Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

  1. I completely agree with Willowdean’s inaction being kind of frustrating.
    I’ve only seen the film but it was kind of enough to make me not bother with the book. I think it’s fantastic we’ve got a young fat female lead, and I know I would have appreciated it fifteen years ago, but we can do better than Dumplin.

    • I agree 110%. I honestly enjoyed the movie more than the book (review coming soon!), but not by much. I had to repeatedly remind myself that it’s meant for younger audiences, and I maybe would have enjoyed it more if I was an early teen.

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