Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy


I think you gotta be who you want to be until you feel like you are whoever it is you’re trying to become. Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can.


Every year, the Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant takes over the town. And with Willowdean’s mother running the show, it feels like a constant reminder of everything that Willow doesn’t have. But she is done with hiding and denying herself. It’s time for people to see her. And they are going to see her on that stage.

I think that the writing style complemented the story well. It was light and cute, very easy to read. Though I wish that, in the book that is supposedly about body positivity, there were a little bit less derogatory slurs. They were kind of off-putting.

Honestly, this book would have been a thousand times better if Millie was the main character. She is an amazing friend and a wonderful, sunny person. Whereas Willow is filled with hate. It’s not blatantly obvious, but when you start paying attention, it really begins to look nasty. She is terrible to her friends, she’s manipulative and seems to hate every woman she meets. I am sorry, but calling someone a skank just because she’s skinny is not a very body positive message, is it?

Honestly, I liked every single character much more than I liked Willow. And for me Millie and drag queens saved this book.

It’s a very short novel, but half of it still feels unnecessary. We are just being moved from one place to another, and more often than not it does nothing to push the story forward. Still, somehow the ending feels incredibly rushed, even though I was actually pretty satisfied with the way the story was wrapped up.

Also, in a book that is supposed to be about a beauty pageant, I expected a little bit more of said pageant. Instead it’s just a really minor event. Yes, it’s mentioned throughout this entire book, but the pageant itself didn’t take up more than 20 pages.

It’s supposed to be a body positive book. It’s not. But it still sends a lot of positive messages and some of them were really touching. I think that overall it’s a very sweet story, but the main character that is constantly so angry puts a lot of damper on all of that light. And maybe rightfully so. She has every right to be mad and frustrated. But maybe marketing this book as a body positive and empowering book was not the best idea?


You can find this book on Goodreads, Book Depository and Amazon

4 thoughts on “Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

Add yours

  1. I’ve been wondering whether I should read this book since everyone’s gone so gaga for the movie. I still think I’ll give it a read, just so I can say I have, but if Willow is such a downer, it might not be as interesting as it could be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The movie is definitely much more uplifting and positive. Though I still recommend reading the book. The movie omits a lot of scenes that are pretty important (but make Willow look bad) and they erased a couple of great characters. And it’s a very short book 😄


  2. I just posted a very similar review of this book yesterday. It was full of hypocrisy and Willowdean simply wasn’t a good role model. I’m glad I’m not the only one that recognized that! Good review!

    Liked by 1 person

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