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Presented by State Library Victoria

Dumplin' (Dumplin' #1) by Julie Murphy Book Review

*sips tea slowly*

I have no idea what to say after reading Dumplin’ nothing at all. I went in reading this novel due to personal reasons and expected myself to come out and be like “I DON’T NEED TO BE SKINNY TO BE LOVED!” or “I AM BEAUTIFUL AND NOBODY NEEDS TO CHANGE ME” and yes, those messages were there but I sort of get what reviewers are saying when there seemed to be not really any emotional connection to themselves. I was thinking throughout the 371 pages “yeah this is a good book with a good message but it doesn’t doanything to me or make me change my way of thinking or anything like that really.”

Of course I found it sad especially since this was advertised as “[…] guaranteed to steal your heart. And send you out to buy that bikini.” and I was excited to read a book that hopefully set the records straight about body image especially around youth. When I first read the blurb and read that it was about a confident young girl (who never had any negativity about her body) that suddenly doubts herself and her appearance I immediately picked it up thinking I might start loving my body for once in my life and hoped that maybe just maybe I would stop setting myself unreachable targets for myself in the way I looked like. But it just didn’t make me see the world in any special way. Call that high expectations for a book but I heard lots of people rave over it on instagram which may or may not have resulted in me giving this book a three stars.

But the reason as to WHY it is three stars instead of four or five was that Willowdean, the main character, thought that she had to change herself for the likes of a boy she fancied who (like every stereotype in Young Adult fiction) was good looking and had so many skinny girls falling in love with him. When he falls in love with her she feels like she needs to change the way she looks which eventually results to her entering the beauty pageant to regain her self-confidence.

The whole fact that she thought she needed to change herself because of a boy and that the whole book was roughly centred on that was what made me a little bit upset. Look, I never had a boyfriend or girlfriend or was in any romantic relationship at all (at least any that were in real life) so I wouldn’t know if it is true that girls (or guys) feel this way when their partners are romantically touching them but I didn’t really like the whole “I have to change because of a guy.” idea around Dumplin’

Also given the fact that I hate country music and Dolly Parton songs I find myself very generous indeed for giving this a three star rating. But I guess I liked the lightness of Julie Murphy’s writing and how it did show off a message of “being fat is okay.” and the whole “Love yourself” motto that lots of celebrities are reinforcing. So yes, I would recommend this book to you for that but just be cautious in case you don’t like the whole aforementioned “because of a guy” thing in books.





Dumplin' was amaziiiiiiiiiiiiing. You need to read Puddin'! Dolly Parton is a great person, but I'm not into her genre myself. I found more positive messages in Leah On the Offbeat, a book mainly focused on sexuality!

6th Oct, 18

AHHH!!!!! I LOVE LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT (I think this is preeeeetty obvious given I am the biggest Albertalli fan EVER) and agree with you on the sexuality bit as well. I am definitely giving Puddin' a go as soon as I get back to school :P

6th Oct, 18