Dolly Parton, Pageantry, and Pretty Boys aka 'Dumplin'

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Julie Murphy  

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.

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.

If you were expecting a sob story about my fat-to-thin change, you won't find it here. I am within a normal range for my age range and height. Of course, no tubbiness is my goal. And I do have some tub on my stomach.
But there's one thing. One thing I hate the most.
My thighs. 
I know it sounds so stereotypical. Once, my thighs would touch the ends of my seat in the car. I have stretch marks. My thighs jiggle when I walk. I think I've made it worse by wearing leggings, but I don't fit any other pants otherwise. 
So there. My sob story. 
I know what age to blame it on. I curse you, fifth grade Wren. You didn't have to watch YouTube and eat snacks all day, but you did. Curse you! 
Enough about me. More about Willowdean.

I just loved Willowdean. She was flashy and bright. She was brave and defiant. I adored her character. She was amazing. I admired her as well. I wouldn't be brave enough to enter a pageant as well known as Miss Blue Bonnet. And I'm of average everything. That takes guts. It really does. 

Something that definitely resonated with me was Will's insecurities. She wasn't perfect. She didn't adore her body. She felt self-conscious when Bo touched her. 
With that, I have to say that she felt real. Normal people have insecurities. They hate their eyebrows or lips or nose or whatever. It makes them human. 
I felt like anyone could have her body and insecurities. As I said, she felt real.
And, on top of that, I have my own insecurities. Here's a little story to put things into perspective. I was working on some short answers in English. My teacher is the teacher who constantly barrages you with positive attitude stuff, as if telling you these would change your attitude around. When she came by my table and whispered, "Hey, Wren," I looked up. She pointed at a written sign on a legal pad that said simply 'awesome=you :)'. And it felt like the most positive thing someone said to me in a while. I know that sounds like I'm fishing for compliments. I'm not. That's just how my life has been, how it always has been. Those who love themselves more than I do might be wondering how this possible. I think the recipe involves the hope for all As, the need to get into the best programs, a lot of pressure, and a lack of praise. 

The cast of characters was amazing. You had Hannah and Millie. You had Bo. Will herself. These people were diverse. The 'fat girl'. The lesbian. The tall, hunky, basketball player. You had a lot of different representation. You had the beauty queens and the drag queens. The perfect, little winners of the beauty pageants and the cheerleaders. You had everyone. 

Sadly...the romance was a problem. Albeit, a minor one. I disliked the rushed, instalove part. They barely knew each other. They met. They talked. And boom! Kissing everywhere. Why did he like her? Why did she care? Why were they drawn together? Give me answers or give me death. Or you know...not death.
But I ship Bo and Will so hard that I forgive the instalove. (Somehow.) They were so cute. While Bo made Will uncomfortable at times, he truly seemed to care for her. He tried his best to make her feel loved. And that might be all you can do sometimes.

And something else I didn't like was the plot. For a majority of the plot, I was a little bored. I adored the story because of the characters. The plot was a little dull. Not much happened. Drag queen show. Momma drama. Pageant prep. Distance between you and your best friend. Sorta typical really. The characters really made this book enjoyable for me.


No comments :

Post a Comment