Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

May 17, 20212 comments

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Dumplin’ has been on my book shelf forever now. And I can’t understand how I didn’t read it already, especially with all the praises the book and the movie got. Anyway, did it fare well on my reading scale? Read my book review of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy right away.

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About Dumplin’

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy book cover

Book Name: Dumplin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Willowdean Dickson (Dumplin’), Ellen, Bo Larson, Mitch

Setting: Clover City, Texas, The USA

Plot Summary of Dumplin’

Willowdean is the “resident fat girl” (her own words) and is quite happy in her own body – mostly. With her best friend Ellen, a conventional beauty, by her side she doesn’t care much about others opinion her body, including her mother’s – a former beauty queen herself.

But she is more than surprised to find that her crush, Bo Larson, likes her back. She needs some validation as doubts about her body creep into her mind. Of course she has to do something Will would never dare to do, normally.

With some more unlikely candidates on tow, she signs up for the Miss Clover City beauty pageant to show herself and the others that she deserves to a spot as much as every other girl there.

Does she get the boy? More importantly, does she get her much deserved space in the beauty pageantry? You will have to read Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy to know more.

Book review of Dumplin’

First of all, I loved Willowdean, mostly. I loved that she is flawed yet strong and so well developed. Actually, none of the characters in the book are flawless or perfect. Most of them are dimensional and etched out.

I understand the insecurities that Will faces all through her life and why she reacts the way she does (a bit self centered) at times. And it totally worked for me, especially since “losing her weight” or “romance/a boy” were not prescribed as the solutions.

I loved the complicated mother-daughter relationship and how differently each person handles the grief over a losing someone beloved. I kept waiting for Will to shout at her mother for being so pushy about the diet and losing weight, though it would have been a bit cliché.

On the other hand, I didn’t like how she treats her friends and boy friends at all. She was being too mean and inconsiderate to her new friends, in general and it was not addressed in the book.

Secondly that the resolution was quite abrupt.
Spoiler I found it a little odd that Ellen and Will made up so easily at the pageant, out of nowhere. They could have done it any time. I wish it took more than a speech to solve that issue.

What worked for me

  • I loved the whole Dolly Parton fan theme. Many song references went over my head, but on the whole I enjoyed reading about it.
  • Most of the characters in Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy were flawed and fully fleshed out. And I really liked that.
  • I also liked the complicated mother daughter relationship dynamic.

What may have been better

  • I particularly disliked how Will treated others, especially her new friends.
  • This book has a triangular love story. So if you hate that trope, beware.

Content warning

Body shaming, bullying, Fat shaming, grieving the death of a beloved, forced diet and weight loss (mentioned)

Bottom line

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a light contemporary read which is (mostly) body positive and sends a powerful message. It is perfect for both young and adult readers.

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Let’s chat

Have you read Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy? Did you enjoy the movie more than the book (gasp)? What are your other favorite books that talk about body positivity? Let us talk.

Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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2 Comments

  1. Victoria A Hamel

    I haven’t read the book. I did see the movie which I watched while I was baking cookies so I will admit I didn’t give it my full attention. I thought the movie was cute.

    Reply
  2. Kymber Hawke

    I haven’t read this but I think I would like it.

    Reply

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