RELEASED: September 15, 2015
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 3.91
TRIGGERS: Discrimination on looks, grief, death of loved one, focus on weight, homophobia
REPS: Fat / overweight rep, lesbian half-Dominican side character
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.
I had this book on my TBR for ages because of the fat rep in it. Being now chubby myself and coming from being.. well.. fat, this is a book I felt I had to read – no excuses. Which is, of course, what I eventually ended up doing so it’s time to share my review! Have to admit it’s a shorter one since I read it at the end of May and.. well.. it’s now the end of July. Oops.
Apart from this book reading very easily, the message it shares with the world is definitely one to applaud. Basically you should read this book if you need to hear – or to be reminded – how your looks shouldn’t limit the things you can or can’t do. It’s a hard lesson to learn in today’s society, but one that’s so very very important. That alone makes this book one every single person should read.
Apart from Dumplin’ being a story of self-acceptance, it’s so much more than just that. Sticking up for yourself, the importance of friendships, unexpected friendships, grief and love are also highlighted themes. Seeing those things lined up, you can probably feel it’s a story a lot of people will be able to relate to or gain something from.
The relating part is definitely something that made me love this book a lot. There were things mentioned – smaller and bigger things – that hit me in the feels because of their familiarity. The not feeling good or beautiful enough to be with a certain person stuck with me the most since that is a feeling I’ve had often in the past and sometimes even struggle with now. Although it helps that my BF doesn’t even realize how handsome he is so there’s that, haha.
I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.
If there’s one thing I didn’t like as much, it’s how certain relationships felt flat. The main focus was, without a doubt, on our main character’s pageant journey, her road to self-love. It kind of took away from other aspects regarding friendships and overall relationships that are equally as important to me. Definitely something personal but.. well.. It wouldn’t be a review if I didn’t give my own, personal opinion, right?
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.
I definitely recommend reading this book if you ever feel like you’re not good enough to do or participate in certain events / things. Dumplin’ shows you can do it, you are allowed and you should just do it to break the norm and make people realize everybody should be able to do everything instead of being discriminated on looks.
Are there things you are afraid of doing because you don’t feel like you fit the “requirements”? Did you ever do them anyway? How did it go?