Today I’ll review Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, a book I finished recently. The review is spoiler free. But first, here is the Goodreads blurb:
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 must say I was disappointed by this book. I was expecting a very empowering read about a fat girl participating in a beauty pageant. Instead I got very little of that.
I think my biggest problem with this book was the main character, Willowdean. She was very annoying. She was rude to her best friend Ellen, her mom, her other friends, strangers,… This resulted in a lot of girl on girl hate and that was not what I expected from a book that is promoted to be very empowering. She supposedly has this amazing relationship with her best friend, but they spent 3/4 of the book fighting over something very stupid. So what does Willowdean do? She gets herself some new friends and treats them just as badly, sigh…
Another problem I had with this book was the romance. Willowdean gets herself in a very unnecessary love triangle and hurts the feelings of both of the men involved. This didn’t help me like the book any better since one of them, Mitch, was the only character I really liked. He was really sweet and kind.
On a more positive note, the book did have some empowering moments. For example;
I do like things like this. I just wish there was a bit more empowering stuff like this instead of all the drama and girl on girl hate.
I think the main reason we don’t get that is that the main character is very judging. She is very negative over others she finds uglier that herself. She also tends to skinny- shame. Let me give you an example:
“I’m fat, but Millie’s the type of fat that requires elastic waist pants because they don’t make pants with buttons and zippers in her size. Her eyes are too close together and her nose pinches up at the end. She wears shirts with puppies and kittens and not in an ironic way.”
Now let’s talk about the plot, or the lack thereof. I was expecting a lot more beauty pageant stuff, but the whole pageant happens in the last 50 or so pages of the book. It all felt very rushed. Before that it’s all just drama and romance. To be honest you could skip half the book and still be able to follow. sigh…
Overall I wasn’t a big fan of this book, as you may have noticed. I gave it 1/5 stars. I’m sorry if this is one of your favourite books, it just wasn’t for me. I felt like I needed to get my opinion out there, because almost all the reviews I have seen are extremely positive. I’m sorry this post was rather negative. See you next time!