Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

View my video review here

Willowdean has never been concerned about her size even though her mother is a former beauty queen who runs the local pageant and prides herself on still being able to fit into the dress she wore when she won the crown.  Will loves her best friend Ellen and Dolly Parton and has a crush on Bo, the hot guy with whom she works.  When Bo likes her back the two begin meeting after work for secret make-out sessions in his truck and for the first time in her life, Will begins to feel self-conscious about her body, especially when she finds out that Bo has been keeping a big secret from her.  And when she overhears Ellen's new friend describing her as Ellen's pity case Will's confidence sinks even lower.  Trying to get some dignity back she ends things with Bo and in a spontaneous moment decides to enter the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant surprising everyone, especially herself.  But while she becomes a hero to several other misfits at school her own life feels more out of control as she fights with Ellen and her mother while trying to figure out just what Bo actually wants.

I do love a story about a fat girl making good.  What's very nice about this is that while Willowdean does begin to worry about her body, weight is not really the issue here.  Most stories with an overweight character have the obligatory scene of disappointment or stress followed by a binge which is then followed by self-loathing.  None of that here!  Instead, this is a real depiction of a large person who is just a character with faults and strengths and I loved it.  I did feel bad for Mitch, however and I wished that her relationship with her mother had been a little smoother.