Dumplin’ Redefines the Word “Beautiful”



In this real-world story about high school drama, love, weight issues, and loving yourself, Willowdean seeks to prove that she can be just as beautiful as the pageant girls her mother coordinates.

Following Willowdean through her awkward high school years brings forward a memory of that girl we all remember. She is the girl that longs to fit in with the crowd, but finds herself being picked out. In the beginning of this story, Julie Murphy writes Willowdean to be this open-to-imagination character where the readers only know she’s fat. This allows anyone, plus sized or not, to go through the trials that the main character goes through.

In the story, Willowdean is very open about her weight and it doesn’t seem to bother her until more and more people comment on it. She says, “But that’s me. I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way?”

Her hatred of the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant slowly begins to fade as she realizes that she has just as much of a right to be included and feel beautiful as the other girls. Through this entry of the pageant, she believes more in herself, finds confidence, and allows herself to be who she wants to be. Murphy does well in creating this character that most can relate to. The readers can place themselves into Willowdean’s shoes and relate to at least one of the many situations pushed upon the main character.
Though the situations may be many, they aren’t too much for Willowdean. She powers through each of them and shows the reader that being yourself is enough.


6 thoughts on “Dumplin’ Redefines the Word “Beautiful”

  1. I really like in this review how you point out this character is open to the imagination. Because it seems like a really big detail that some people might leave out. Especially when the author wants us to see ourselves in the main character. There might not be much detail with going into the plot, but I think it works in the reviews favor since it has to do with more simple themes.


  2. First off, LOVE LOVE the title. I loved it when you showed me the first time. This line: “This allows anyone, plus sized or not, to go through the trials that the main character goes through.” I mean, that’s just perfect. Not only that, but it allows readers to be able to connect with Willowdean on a more personal level, and you talked about that in your review. It was the perfect amount of information without giving everything away. I loved it!


  3. I absolutely love the quote you use in this review. It ties in so well with your title, as well, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m excited to read this book. There simply aren’t enough YA novels with fat protagonists, and I’m so ready for that to change. And can I just say how much I love this? — “This allows anyone, plus sized or not, to go through the trials that the main character goes through.”


  4. I absolutely love the first paragraph. It’s concise, direct, and it tells the reader exactly what kind of journey they are about to encounter. You cast the main character in such a light it makes me want to be best friends with her because she seems so, sorry for the language (?), badass. She does not care about being called fat even if others mean it as an insult. It’s inspiring because most of us have at least one aspect of our bodies we are insecure about, and Willowdean shows us how important it is to be confident.


  5. Pingback: Q&A with Julie Murphy (On Dumplin’) | Write About It

  6. Pingback: Midwest Writers Workshop: Authors, Agents, and Life Long Friends | Write About It

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