Dumplin’ has been fairly well received by the public, and I can see why. Will, short for Willowdean, is a teenage girl, going to High School, living with her mom, and working at a fast food restaurant. Everything changes for her when she ends up making out with her hot coworker behind a dumpster and decides to enter the beauty pageant. Will is a fat girl, and she doesn’t always have the easiest time fitting in, both because of her own fear of being teased and because of the teasing and stereotypes thrust upon her. She has lost loved ones, a grief that she hasn’t dealt with, and she’s trying to find her place in the world.
I thought this was a cute and fun book with some deeper themes going on. Much like life, this book skipped back and forth between her friends, her love life, her job, and school. Each scene built off the last, but carried the overarching themes through the story, and was refreshing to read after The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
I was pleasantly surprised by the ending, which I had thought I could guess from the beginning, but which it turns out I didn’t see coming at all. The meat of the story felt believable and realistic, and for me very interesting because I can’t say I’ve ever read a book about either Texas or pageants. However, there’s not a lot of intellectual meat, mostly just emotional meat, so if you’re not ready to be a bit emotional, don’t bother with this book.