My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
This was recommended by Tash ! Click her name to see her review.
When I had first read Tash’s review I knew that I must read it! I was excepting to love every bit of it and enjoy the story. While I did not love it I did thoroughly enjoy reading it.
Willowdean (more often referred to as Will) is one of the fat girls in her town. She has no problem with this and does not consider calling herself fat an insult. Every year her mother and a few others host a beauty pageant. Her mother is a former winner and still fits into the dress she wore when she won.
The book starts off during summer right before Will and her best friend Ellen are supposed to go to grade 11. Will works at Harpy’s a fast food restaurant. It is revealed that Will has had a crush on Bo her co-worker for some time. Bo doesn’t really talk a lot he keeps to himself so it’s hard to see whether he likes any of his co-workers in any way.
One day as Will is taking the trash out she runs into Bo and he kisses her. Surprised she walks away. He sees her again and apologizes for randomly kissing her and claims that he has some personal stuff going on therefore it would be best not to date anyone. While she isn’t happy to hear this she doesn’t protest. The next day however he kisses her again. They have a secret relationship for 2 months. No one knows about their relationship and they keep it that way.
At that point I was ready to stop reading because the relationship between the two of them was odd and didn’t really make sense. But because I bought it and hoping it would get better I read on. I am pretty happy that I did that as it did turn out to be a good story.
School is right around the corner so Will assumes that whatever she and Bo have will do done and over with soon. While dropping Ellen to get her payroll she runs into Bo and his family. His stepmother reveals that Bo will start going to Will’s school. Will is shocked that she never heard this from Bo. And she can’t imagine going to school with him as well as working together.
Things aren’t so great with her relationship with her mother or Ellen. She feels that her and Ellen are drifting apart mostly because of Ellen’s co-worker and new friend Callie who pities Will for being fat. Her aunt passed away recently so it’s been hard on both her mother and her. Will felt that her aunt understood her in a way her mother never does. Her aunt and her bonded over some of the silly things her mother said. Her mother is not happy about Will being fat and she tries to subtly push her into losing weight. She does this because she thinks her Will is going to be happier if she loses weight.
Now with school beginning the pageant is also right around the corner. Which Will is not at all excited about. She hates the pageant and everything it stands for. After seeing Bo in her history class she decides to quit her job and apply for another one.
In a way of moving on from Bo she agrees to go on a date with Mitch who is in her english class. When this fails she enters the pageant. Her entering the pageant inspires 3 other girls to enter with her.
This is probably one of the most inspiring books I have ever read! I loved that Will decided to enter the pageant for her aunt and herself.
I would have liked to read more about the pageant. I felt that some points in the book the story really dragged. I really did not like how some of the characters tried to shove it down Will’s throat that if she lost weight she would be happy. While a lot of people are pretty happy when they lose weight that does not mean that they weren’t happy before. This is the case with me. I couldn’t really see Will working out with Bo nor Mitch.
I was also impressed by the fact that Will did not feel the need to lose weight for the pageant. It was really sweet to read about the other girls entering with her. The friendship was awesome! As well as how complex the characters were and the journey all the girls took with the pageant. I liked how Will repaired her relationship with Ellen and her mother. I was not excepting the book to end the way it did. Kudos to the author for doing something unexpected.
Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to fans of contemporary, Dolly Parton, and anyone looking for an inspiring/empowering book.