Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Book Review - Dumplin

 Title: Dumplin

Author: Julie Murphy

Series: Dumplin (book 1)

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Release Date: 4 May 2017

ISBN-13: 978-0062327192



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 girl does.

Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

 My Review

I am a huge fan of Dolly Parton, so when I saw an advert for a new Netflix film called Dumplin' where the main character is also a fan and uses her music to guide her in life, i knew I wanted to see what it was all about. I watched the film and really enjoyed it, but then I realised that it was based on a book so I had to source a copy. However I usually always read a book before a film as I don't want any preconceptions of the story or characters, so I have had the book sitting on my shelves for a few months now. However I was in the bookstore the other day and saw that there was a follow up book called 'Puddin' so I decided to give Dumplin' a try. 

Dumplin' lives in a quiet little village where nothing ever really happens, except the annual beauty pageant that takes place. It is the biggest and most important moment in every girls life, except Willowdean, she isn't exactly the pageant type. Except her mum is a former winner and now runs the pageant so expectations are high. Willowdean is on the larger size, her mum is always trying to get her to diet or giving her disapproving looks, but Will is happy with her body, or at least she thinks she it. That is until she meets Bo, a hot co-worker who seems to show an interest in her, suddenly she is questioning why he likes her, how can he when she looks like she does? Suddenly Willowdean is looking for answers, and she thinks she can find it inside the pageant. 

I remembered bits of the film but not much, so it was nice to approach the book with fresh eyes. Willowdean is the sort of character that you can't help but like straight away, she has a sort of southern charm about her and she is quite frank in her opinions which is refreshing. Her friendship with Ellen is lovely and the girls make a great pair. But even that doesn't necessarily last, which gives a whole different dynamic to the story which I actually really enjoyed. 

Will is not afraid to speak her mind but she also has doubts. She wants to get along with others but won't stand for anyone who makes her or her friends feel bad. She has self-doubt, worries about friends and family and she is mourning the loss of her aunt. She makes mistakes and doesn't  always do whats best for those around her or herself, but she means well and tries to do the right thing. Overall she is a really realistic character and someone who I imagine I would have been friends with at school.

There is a bit of a love triangle story but it isn't overdone or too cliched so it works really well and keeps the plot moving. I enjoyed meeting Will's new group of oddball friends and am excited to learn more about them in the next book. 

This book is a really easy read and is a real feel-good book. It asks you to think about expectations that society and others may cast upon you and what it is that you really want out of life. It's about looking for the things that make you who you are and loving yourself for being that person. 

This book has a real charm about it and is a really enjoyable read.

My Rating      

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