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Friday, September 25, 2015

Dumplin by Julie Murphy

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.

I wanted to like Dumplin SO MUCH MORE than I did. *sigh*.  The cover says she has always been at home in her own skin. This is true and not, she also kind of fat shames a few girls bigger than herself which made me upset.

She doubts herself with the boy; Bo....truth, but what the cover doesn't tell you is that Dumplin is kind of just whiny the whole novel, and she never opens up and tells anyone her insecurities or flat out asks, which you would do with your best friend or boyfriend. 

At no time does Bo do ANYTHING to make her feel unwanted or fat. It seemed like the character was only ok in her own skin as long as she was making fun of herself and no one was talking about it.

 There is a scene where she cries walking home from a pool because her best friend slightly ditches her to hang out with a girl that treats Dumplin like crap. Not to mention her best friend Ellen? Total bitch who never once understands or sees how her skinny friends, from her posh clothing shop, treat Dumplin (they are comic book villain mean). It's like Ellen has blinders on to what is actually going on with WILLOWDEAN!! 

That's right, Dumplin is actually the slightly mean nickname her mom gives her because she is chunky, it embarrasses Willowdean and she even asks her to stop saying it. Her mom is really cruel to Willow as well, has had her on diets since she was eight because Willow doesn't fit the standard she wants for her daughter, (read: be a mini me beauty queen.)

Willow does learn some good lessons about loving herself and how beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it's what is beneath that counts, which was nice. The writing wasn't bad and the characters were well written, the author got the small hick town vibe down well too.  It also made me cry a little cause I have been there, I have been teased for my weight, I was the fat girl in my class at school.

However what I was hoping out of the description and the hype was a much more positive tale of a chubby girl entering a beauty contest cause , "Fuck Ya'll! I am awesome!!"  The description is deceiving, this isn't about a big girl who loves herself, this is a big girl who is complacent until a boy likes her and her best friend ditches her for stereotyped mean girls. 

Best part: The drag queen club they go to, where they learn how to walk and act for the Beauty Pageant. 

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