Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: Dumplin' By Julie Murphy

Dumplin is realistic fiction.  It's the tale of a fat girl during the summer between her sophomore and junior years and then the first half of her junior year.
Willowdean is very realistic, as are most of the characters in this book.  I swear they're all people I've taught or their parents.  :)
Willowdean is fat and sassy, but she has all the issues associated with body weight.  Like most girls with extra pounds, she fears boys' touching her, as she doesn't want them to be as disgusted as she is by her fat.
Willowdean's Aunt Lucy, a morbidly obese woman but one whom Willowdean preferred to her mother, has died a few months before the story begins.  W. must deal with that, with having a thin BFF,  with a dead-end job in a dead-end town, and, most of all, with the fact that her mother relives her own glory days every year by hosting a beauty pageant.
This year, Willowdean enters, mostly just to prove something to herself.

I liked and didn't like the fact that W. never attempts to lose weight.  Yes, it was refreshing not to have her lose weight and get the guy, as in most fat-chick stories.  But, on the other hand, it was so obvious that this girl really could have added some physical activity to her life.  All she does is watch TV.  She has no ambition to go to college, get a decent job, do anything except prove her mother wrong.
I loved the fact that she *SPOLER WARNING* gets all her beauty tips and hints from a drag queen.  That was highly amusing.
The only character that just didn't work for me was Bo, the hot guy who can have any girl but loves W.  That was a stretch.  I've watched so very many adolescents fall in and out of love, and I've seen so very many adults go through relationships, and I can tell you that I've never once seen a really hot high school guy take a fat girl for anything other than a fling.  (You know the old stereotype about "fat girls put out more."  Well, it's sometimes true, and some handsome boys will go for that -- for a while.)  Generally, a guy goes after the best he can get, and a boy who knows he's good looking will go after a good-looking girl.
As a teacher, I also had a problem with the fact that W. talks a lot about her friend Ellen deciding to have sex with her boyfriend.  Not one time is birth control or safe sex even brought up.  This bothers me, as it appears to condone irresponsible behavior.  I didn't like that message at all.
Other than these things, though, Dumplin is a cute, albeit totally predictable book.
Get a copy and spend a lazy Saturday afternoon reading it. :)

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