Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (4 out of 5)
This book is already out, from the fine folks at Balzer & Bray (aka Harper Collins). This is one of the advances that Holly got from Jenny, our kids’ rep. It was stickered as one of her favorites. I can see why! I love a good many of the books that are emblazoned with Jenny’s seal of approval. I believe it came out in September, and I don’t think we’ve sold a single copy. I’m gonna see what I can do about that. I do think the demographic of the town I work in may have something to do with that. Who knows? Anyway…THEIR LOSS. What a fun time I had with this book. A quick read, great font, and a GREAT ROLE MODEL for a leading character.
Willowdean is her real name, Dumplin’ her nickname. She’s fat, and she doesn’t care who knows it (one of the character’s many strengths, she makes no bones about having meat on her bones). She’s an unabashed Dolly Parton fan She loves her best friend Ellen to death, despite Ellen being a gorgeous gal with that oh-so-envied Vogue body. She loves Dolly Parton, and doesn’t care who knows it. She misses her aunt Lucy, who died of a heart attack on their couch, and she has no problems telling her mom off for wanting to turn Lucy’s room into a craft/prep room for the pageant work she does (her mom, not Willow). She works at Harpy’s, the popular greasy spoon in town. She’s got a mad crush on Bo, a young guy who works with her but goes to private school (other side of the coin). She’s stunned when he seems to like her back (and thrilled. Who wouldn’t be? He’s a great character). She loves her mama, but would like to smack her silly with her obsession with the pageant that continues on, years after her victory in the contest. Ellen becomes friends with and starts hanging out with a new crowd of “pretty, self absorbed, well to do” teens that seem to judge Will on her looks right away, and Willowdeen thinks of perhaps the best way to stick it to those stuffy ding-dongs- she enters the pageant! And it’s glorious! Does she win? Does she get the guy? Does she stick it to the crowd of pretty people and PYT’s who judge her on her looks alone? Does she somehow manage to prove to the world- at least those in her small town- that you don’t judge a person on their looks or because they’re bigger than the stereotypical wafer thin model?
Here’s what’s great about this book- everything! I think it would make a great movie, except Hollyweird might mess it up. I saw someone on Shamazon had compared it to John Green. I beg to differ- in scope of character development, maybe… but overall, the vibe is so different. This is a fun book. There are tears, but more than that- LAUGHTER. A ton more. Willowdean is a fun character who has no problems telling it as it is, and walking away from those who have a problem with that. Her entering the contest? Genius. The book goes from being a book about someone dealing with those who judge her on her weight to being a fun free for all. We’ve all been through thick and thin (waistlines), and it’s a fun ride to hop on and see what perceptions Will can smash with her walk down the runway. Do it, you won’t stop cheering the entire way.