Published on September 15, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
[This book was given to me by the Publisher, this in no way affected my opinion.]
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.Every book that talks about body image is a personal book for me because this is something that I've struggled with all my life, not just weight but everything involving self esteem and the way you see yourself. I've been overweight since childhood, I remember when I was about 9 years old looking into my moms diet magazines so this is an old struggle and is pretty obvious that Dumplin' was bound to hit me hard on the feels and I'm so glad I read it, because it did hit me on the feels but it also passes an incredible positive message about accepting yourself.
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.
Willowdean was an easy character to like, I'll try to explain her with a scene from the book. She and her friend go to a public pool and Will uses a bikini, her lema is if you have a body you can wear a bikini but at the same time she is overly conscious of the people that are on pool, who is looking when she is getting out/in and her first reaction is to search for a towel to cover herself. So you see, Will is confident and she doesn't have a problem with her body, that doesn't mean she doesn't struggle and have insecurities, she is aware the ideal body to be on a bikini according to general society isn't the one she has and that not every one is cool with her defying this standards.
Basically this book tells the story of Will growing out of her insecurities not just with herself, but with those around you. Like Boo, a boy which she is crazy about and likes her too, I was never head over heels with the romance but it was realistic, in my view, for her to have insecurities around him and I really loved the way it was handled, Boo is basically the sweetest boy ever. Will also gets in a fight with her best friend and ends up joining the most unique group to join the pageant with her (even if that wasn't her intention), I loved their dynamic and their moments where probably the ones that more made me laugh.
But what really made me emotional was Will's relationship with her mom, I cried on so much of their interactions, it really saddens me because there was times when her mom would do or say something hurtful without even realizing thinking it was for the best of Will and just ugh. Also, the grief that Willowdean still has because of her aunt's passing away at such a young age, it touched me and I was happy to see that she found ways to be connected with her aunt and honor her memory even if she wasn't with her anymore.
To say that I enjoyed this book is an understatement, it was a beautiful story told from a unforgettable character and I think everyone can enjoy this story, because it isn't just about weight - it's about acceptance, overcoming insecurities and finding happiness on being who you are without asking for permission or making limitations based on what others tell you is right.