Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: August 26th, 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Friendship, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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.
DUMPLIN’ is a book that’s been receiving a tonne of hype. Seriously, who doesn’t love this book?! Me. I didn’t love it. I liked it and can see why so many people rave about it, but I wasn’t blown away.
Why didn’t I have the same reading experience as most other people? For one thing contemporary isn’t my go to genre, I only read it occasionally for something different in between all my fantasy/sci fi. The other reason is that I don’t think I formed a very strong emotional connection to Willowdean. She’s a great character, very full of life and with a confidence I aspire to one day obtain, but I just never fully connected. It didn’t help that some things she did/said to her friends in the first half of the novel annoyed me. They were such selfish, horrible things, which she did learn from I do admit, but it didn’t help me like her more.
“All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on”
My favourite part DUMPLIN’ overall was the themes and messages it explored. Body image is a big issue all around the world and is guaranteed to affect everyone at some stage or another. Willowdean isn’t a small girl, but she is fairly comfortable in her body… until she isn’t. I loved how DUMPLIN’ showed everyone has insecurities and that’s okay. Your body doesn’t define you and you shouldn’t let your own self doubts or arsehole bullies to stop you achieving your personal goals and dreams. Don’t let them stop you from being the person you want to be. As a highly anxious person who worries about a lot of things (which sometimes includes body image but not always, because I’m too lazy to do anything about it) it was really inspiring and reassuring.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the romance wasn’t in your face all the time. It had it’s role, and Willowdean dates people and thinks about relationships as any normal teenager does, but it didn’t completely override the point of the story. As much as I would have love to have seen more scenes with Bo, the amount in this book was just right.
“News flash, Mom: a man will not cure my troubles”
While I didn’t love DUMPLIN’ as much as almost everyone else seems too, I really do appreciate this book and the message it delivers. I’d recommend this for any YA fan looking for some words of empowerment and reassurance.