Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Posted September 17, 2015 by Lisa Mandina in / 15 Comments

First, thanks to Balzer and Bray as well as Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this.  Let me say that I just loved this.  I would pick it up to read, and hate every time that I had to put it down to do anything else.  I would think about when the next time I could pick it up to read would be.  I totally connected with the main character in so many ways.  Although in high school I was not overweight, I have spent a majority of my adult life that way, and so there were many things I identified with.  But even if I wasn’t overweight in high school, until my Junior year I wore glasses, and it wasn’t until I got contacts that I started feeling any confidence whatsoever, and even then, it really didn’t kick in until college.  I’ve had issues with friends like in the book, and while some have come back in ways that are like what you’d want, not all have. 

The main character is Willowdean Dickson.  She is a little overweight, enough so that she is insecure about it to a point. But not a lot. She’s got a best friend named Ellen, who is very pretty, but also very nice.  Most of the time Will is comfortable with herself, although most often a kind of 3rd wheel in a way to El and her boyfriend Tim.  Will works at a restaurant called Harpy’s.  There’s a cute private school boy named Bo that works there.  Will has kind of had a crush on him, and he’s always just been kind of friendly.  Until one night that summer when he kisses her.  And then they keep kissing.  But it’s always when they’re somewhere alone, and Willow wonders if that means he doesn’t want anyone to know.  At the same time El has decided it is time to go all the way with Tim.  Will feels a bit left behind, and it is even worse because El is now hanging out with a girl named Callie from the clothing store where she works.  Soon Will is keeping the secret about Bo, and El seems to not be talking to Will about everything, telling Callie more, and they kind of drift apart. 

Now I didn’t mention that Will’s mom runs the big annual beauty pageant in town, something she’s never really acted like Will, or Dumplin’ as her mom calls her, should try to be a part of.  NOt only that, but her aunt Luce has recently passed away, partly because of being very obese, and Will had always felt closest to her, closer than to her mom.  Soon Will decides she is going to enter the pageant, to make a statement. And from there, all kinds of hell breaks loose.

As I read through the book I just knew at first that there was no way Bo could really be such a cute guy, and really be attracted to her.  Like Will I just knew there had to be something wrong with him, he had to be playing her or something.  But I wanted so bad for him to really be the guy he seemed to be.  And then there was the horrible fight that Will has with El. And while I understood somewhat why Will didn’t want El to be in the pageant, I also didn’t understand.  I mean how much better to have your best friend in something so scary?  But again, the reasons behind why she said what she did, and the way they all acted, to me they seemed very realistic. 

In the end I was happy with how it went, I won’t tell you exactly what happens, who ends up with who, etc.  I will just tell you  it is a good ending, a happy one. 

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15 responses to “Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

  1. I have heard so many WONDERFUL things about this book which makes me really want to read it. It's on my TBR and I am glad you were able to love it as well. It does deal with a tender topic but I love how originally the main character was already accepting of her skin, but it is only the decision that throws her off.

  2. I so want to read this book and your review is another fantastic review of this book that I have read. It's automatically going to the top of my reading list.

  3. Hi. I'm also not an over-weight as a teenager, but I do have a lot more…flesh than my peers. And yeah, it made me not so confident in myself. I got interested in reading Dumplin' because it's basically a fat girl proving herself that she is as beautiful as all the skinny ones out there–yeah, this is going to be interesting.

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