Ugh, Beauty Pagents...

Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine -- "Dumplin" is guaranteed to steal your heart.

-- from the book jacket

 

So, I purposely didn't copy the blurb from the back cover for the beginning of my review. The back cover implies that the main character, "Willowdean", is proud of her body and not self-conscious at all. This is not true, but also not realistic. She has a lot of issues, but don't we all...

 

No matter how old we are, I think most of us have something about our bodies that we hate. For me, it's my belly. No matter how skinny I was growing up, I was always afraid to wear a bikini because of my belly. Of course, I look back now and laugh at myself. I should have taken advantage of my bikini-worthy body while I could. I look at old pictures and I have to laugh at myself. I was skinny and I don't look like I had a belly at all. Then again, our self-image and what other people see tends to be quite different.

 

Willowdean has issues with her body, and she is heavy. But she still enters herself in the beauty pageant that her mother once won. Her mother is heavily invested in the pageant and participates in the celebration every year. Her mother is also always trying to get Willow to go on one diet or another. The interesting thing about Willowdean is that when a boy shows real interest in her, she only sees the bad. She worries what he will think about her body and sees only the fact that he is "too good looking" for her. And she worries a lot about what other people would think.

 

This was a fun book to read and I think gave a realistic look at how teenage girls see themselves. I liked most of the characters and enjoyed watching their development.

 

Recommended to:

Teenage readers, especially girls. This is a YA book, but I think readers of many ages would enjoy it.