Format: Audio-book – library
Buy it Here: Dumplin’
I was ready to really enjoy this book. I was prepared for a cute, heart-warming story about a chubby girl who becomes a beauty queen. What I got was so much better. Dumplin’ is the story of Willowdean Dixon, a self-professed fat girl, and her ruminations about size, acceptance, attraction, and belonging. Oh yes, and family, and friendship, and crushes and Dolly Parton. Lots of Dolly.
I’m plus-sized myself– I truly appreciated the nuances in Willowdean’s self-esteem and self-image. There are times I feel like I’m adorable and should be able to go where I want and do what I want. But I still don’t ever wear a bikini to the pool– I don’t want anyone to stare at my stomach. Body insecurity isn’t something that stays constant, it fluctuates all the time. If I didn’t know that already, it’s a clear theme in Dumplin’.
I also truly appreciated the depth of Willowdean’s platonic relationships. A lot of times YA books focus on romance and the “best friend” is nothing but a prop. Basically a student in a Socratic Dialogue. Ellen is absolutely real, and the struggles they go through are important and given the gravity they deserve. Willowdean’s discussion with Hannah about friendship was another bright point in this book.
The new relationships Willowdean builds in this story are fascinating. The other “freaks,” she befriends bring a whole other layer to this story. Again, we get to explore friendship in a depth I found impressive for a YA book. What does it truly mean to be friends with someone? Why would someone want to be your friend? It’s good stuff, it truly is.
Finally this book is amazing from the standpoint of children’s relationships with adults. Willowedean’s mom is not what I would consider an ideal mom, and she spent most of her life looking up to her incredibly obese aunt instead. Though her aunt is dead at the beginning of the book, her influence is there throughout. So, hey, this book is also about grief! Truly, it was impressive.
It’s hard to find anything wrong with Dumplin’. I enjoyed it through and through. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened, I didn’t want to stop listening, and now, I might have to go listen to some Dolly Parton.
Subjective Hearts: 5/5
Objective Hearts: 4/5
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”