Dumplin'

Julie Murphy, 1965-

Book - 2015

Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2015]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
375 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780062327185
0062327186
Main Author
Julie Murphy, 1965- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Willowdean Dickson, self-proclaimed fat girl and Dolly Parton enthusiast, has this to say: "The word fat makes people uncomfortable." Will's mother (who calls her Dumplin') is a former winner of the local Miss Teen Blue Bonnet contest and now runs it, which makes pageant season an unwelcome constant in Will's life. To ignore it, she concentrates on her friendship with her bestie, Ellen, and her crush on fellow fast-food worker Bo, while trying to shake her grief over the death of her beloved 498-pound aunt. Knowing what it means to be fat, as well as what it means to her mother to be thin, Will decides to be happy being herself. Because why not? But when Bo kisses her behind the dumpster, and she and Ellen flameout, her life is turned inside out, and who she is becomes a question more than an answer. Murphy juggles a lot of plates here, and mostly keeps them admirably spinning. The story's set piece is the beauty contest, which Will and several other misfits decide to enter, ready to take the ridicule in trade for their right to the spotlight, but there are also splendid subplots involving friendships, the push-pull of the mother-daughter relationship, and the kindness of strangers, including an encouraging drag queen. Will's singular voice compels readers to think about all that goes into building—and destroying—self-esteem. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

About the only thing Clover City has going for it is its beauty pageant, the oldest in Texas. It's run by Willowdean Dickson's mother—a former winner—who has a hard time with the reality that Willowdean, a self-described "fat girl," will never be a beauty queen. Willowdean is okay with her size, mostly, but with 10th grade ending and her best friend considering having sex with her boyfriend, Willowdean feels like she is being left on the wrong side of the experience divide. An unexpected kiss with Bo, her handsome fast-food restaurant coworker, is thrilling, but she's also horrified at the idea of him touching her anywhere there is extra flesh. And that very reaction horrifies her, too; she thought she was at peace with herself. Murphy (Side Effects May Vary) successfully makes every piece of the story—Dolly Parton superfans, first love, best-friend problems, an unlikely group of pageant entrants, female solidarity, self-acceptance, and Willowdean's complicated relationship with the mother who nicknamed her "Dumplin' "—count, weaving them together to create a harmonious, humorous, and thought-provoking whole. Ages 13–up. Agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management.(Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Sixteen-year-old Dolly Parton-loving Willowdean doesn't usually struggle with her identity and self-confidence as a fat girl in a her small Texas town, where her mother leads the local pageant scene, until hot former jock Bo kisses her. In this novel, Murphy takes her time letting Willowdean explore her feelings about a variety of situations relating to friendship, jealousy, sexual attraction, drag queens, her obese aunt's death, her relationship with her mother, and her own self-worth. Murphy celebrates small-town Texas with her strong sense of community and culture, in part by creating very realistic and deep characters to populate Willowdean's world, having them frequent places like truckbeds and fast-food joints, and giving them pure Texan dialogue: "Oh God, roll down the mother flippin' windows!" Unlike the similarly smart, funny, and large heroines of Robin Brande's Fat Cat (Knopf, 2009) or Suzanne Supplee's Artichoke's Heart (Dutton, 2008), Willowdean doesn't have to lose the weight to get the boy and her confidence, but instead remains a strong and realistic overweight girl to whom many readers will aspire: "I'm not doing this to be some kind of Joan of Fat Girls, or whatever. I'm doing this…for me." VERDICT A joyous read that will be beloved by many teens who can relate to feeling uncertain in their own skins.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC [Page 108]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete inthe beauty pageant her mother runs.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Questioning her plus-sized body for the first time when an athletic boy appears to return her affections, Willowdean enters her city's beauty pageant and uses her sassy styles and talents to compete against thinner contestants. Simultaneous eBook. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Questioning her plus-sized body for the first time when an athletic boy appears to return her affections, Willowdean enters her city's beauty pageant and uses her sassy styles and talents to compete against thinner contestants.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Now a Netflix feature film, starring Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, and Dove Cameron, as well as a soundtrack from Dolly Parton!The #1 New York Times bestseller and feel-good YA of the year—about Willowdean Dixon, the fearless, funny, and totally unforgettable heroine who takes on her small town’s beauty pageant.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.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Now a Netflix feature film, starring Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, and Dove Cameron, as well as a soundtrack from Dolly Parton!The #1 New York Times bestseller and feel-good YA of the year'about Willowdean Dixon, the fearless, funny, and totally unforgettable heroine who takes on her small town's beauty pageant.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.