5 Things I Learned After Reading This Body Positive YA Book
Over the past month, we’ve been diving into the hilarious and sweet October read for B + C Book Club: Dumplin‘, by Julie Murphy. We’ve chatted with author Julie Murphy about her creative process and her vision for the Dumplin’ movie (we’re keeping our fingers crossed!), while also perfecting sweet apple dumplings and a glitzy DIY tiara we might just wear every day. As we wrap up our month of amazing eats and reads, we’re reflecting on the lessons that we learned from our girl Willowdean. Scroll on for five reasons you’ll want to add this book to your TBR list stat.
1. Everyone feels insecure. This is the book you need tucked away in your tote when you’re having a bad day. Dumplin’ really goes to town exploring protagonist Willowdean’s hopes and dreams, along with her insecurities — that she might not be good enough to be her crush’s girlfriend. Watching Willowdean struggle — and ultimately conquer — her insecurities about her weight will make you root for yourself as much as you’re rooting for her.
2. Friendships grow and change, and that’s okay. Seriously, grab your besties and read this book. While reading Dumplin’ was super fun, reading it alongside friends (aka the B+C team) made it 10 times better. While all of us are much older than Willowdean, we were able to relate to the ebbs and flows in her friendship with her BFF Ellen. If you’ve ever stressed over how a move, a new job or a new BFF might affect your existing friendships, then you’ll definitely enjoy reading this book.
3. Help comes from unlikely places. How amazing is the quote above, delivered by Willowdean’s pageant queen mom? Willowdean owes much of her transformation into a pageant contestant to her unlikely ragtag team of supporters, from high school outcasts to drag queens wielding a mascara brush and dangerously tall stilettos. Willowdean’s relationship with her new team of friends gives us major inspo for the next time we need to hunt down the perfect mentor.
4. Eyes on the prize isn’t always the best strategy. We’ve all seen those classic cutthroat pageant movies (hello, Toddlers and Tiaras marathons!). Thankfully, Dumplin’ doesn’t have very much in common with these cheese-tacular flicks. Willowdean’s reason for joining the pageant is to prove that she’s good enough to be on stage alongside the other girls. It’s never about securing the crown on her head, which makes her journey all the more exciting.
5. Sometimes you have to make your own happy endings. Major spoiler alerts here: Willowdean gets her beau, the dreamy Bo, but it doesn’t go down the way you’d expect. Bo declaring his love for Willowdean doesn’t actually fix anything in her life — she’s still insecure, on rocky terms with her BFF and very unlikely to win the pageant — and that’s okay! Despite the way rom-coms have trained us to think, love doesn’t actually solve all of our problems. Their fireworks moment doesn’t even happen until after Willowdean makes amends with her mom, her BFF and, most importantly, herself. The delayed happily-ever-after moment feels even more powerful, because Willowdean is making her own happy ending.
Have you read Dumplin’? Share your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned next week, when we announce our November B + C Book Club pick!