Last week, we announced the first-ever B + C Book Club with our pick of Dumplin鈥聽by Julie Murphy. Have you snagged your copy yet? We鈥檝e been reading furiously, giggling and swooning over Willowdean鈥檚 world. Today, we鈥檙e chatting with NYTimes best-selling author Julie Murphy about her captivating novel. Did you know Dumplin鈥 has already been optioned for a movie? You better believe we鈥檙e asking her all about it. We鈥檙e also sharing our first reviews of Dumplin鈥 鈥 it鈥檚 no surprise that these reviews involve A LOT of exclamation points! Scroll on to get the lowdown on Julie鈥檚 writing process, her must-read books and more!

Julie Murphy Chats All Things Dumplin鈥


B+C: Willowdean often turns to Dolly Parton鈥檚 music for confidence. What are your go-to pick-me-ups, rituals, tunes and favorite quotes for reminding yourself how much of a bad a** you are?

JM: Dolly is a huge one for me, of course, but Beyonce, Mika, Lorde, Queen, The Polyphonic Spree and the soundtrack to Chicago always get me going. Sometimes, depending on the project a certain movie will really get me juiced. For Side Effects May Vary, it was actually Blue Valentine. And my WRITE LIKE A MOTHERF*CKER mug ($15) always gets me pretty pumped, too. Oh! And Ursula singing 鈥Poor Unfortunate Souls.鈥 I鈥檓 all over the place here, but I think you鈥檝e just got find things that make your heart pound and then sit down at your laptop or drafting table or whatever it is and let that energy translate.


B+C: Dumplin鈥 is refreshingly sex-positive 鈥 though only one character is actually having sex, it鈥檚 something the characters talk about frequently, and there isn鈥檛 any stigma of shame attached to it. Was this a conscious decision on your part? How did this sex-positive message tie into the book鈥檚 larger message about body-positivity (if at all)?

JM: This was 100 percent on purpose and something that I am so thrilled readers are picking up on. It鈥檚 one thing to love your body, but it鈥檚 a whole other battle to love your body when someone else is touching you. Body positivity means learning to respect and love yourself 鈥 and that鈥檚 in regard to sex too! I could answer this question for days.

B+C: In the novel, Willowdean and Ellen experience a friend-break of sorts 鈥 did you draw inspiration from your own life for this plot line?

JM: I did! When I was in the early stages of drafting this book, my best friend and I went out for sushi and she dropped a bomb. She explained that she and her wonderful husband were ready to start a family. I immediately started bawling and asked, 鈥淏ut what about me??鈥 I know that sounds insane and makes me sound like a horrible friend, but I really couldn鈥檛 fathom how I could possibly fit into this new life she was embarking on. It took a while for me to come around to the idea, but I got over myself and guess what? Her daughter is amazing and I love her as much as I love my best friend. But man, that was terrifying. Willowdean and Ellen have a couple different issues, but that alienation Willowdean felt was the initial driving force and it was something that felt familiar.

B+C: Tell us about three under-rated books our readers should check out.


JM: Easy! Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker, Tracked by Jenny Martin and Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.

Bonus adult nonfiction pick: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty.

B+C: Dumplin,鈥 The Movie: Can you give us any details?! Do you have a dream Willowdean or Bo in mind?

JM: I don鈥檛 have many details as of yet, but I do know that the hunt for a screenwriter is on! I鈥檓 so horribly boring in that these characters exist so fully in my head that I鈥檝e had problems coming up with a dream cast. I would love for Willowdean to be an unknown, because there aren鈥檛 many current actresses out there who fit the bill. Though she鈥檚 too old, a younger Rebel Wilson might fit the bill. Because we see Bo through Willowdean鈥檚 eyes, it鈥檚 easy to think he鈥檚 a total dreamboat, but I think a slightly more normal looking guy like Dylan O鈥橞rien could work.

Brit + Co Chats DUMPLIN鈥


What鈥檚 a book club without dishing about the characters, predicting story lines and even disagreeing over characters鈥 intentions and actions. With an adorable and supremely engaging novel like Dumplin鈥, it鈥檚 hard not to get riled up with thoughts. Scroll on to read our initial thoughts and reviews of the novel, and let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments below!

鈥淚鈥檓 fat. It鈥檚 not a cuss word. It鈥檚 not an insult. At least not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way.鈥 鈥 Willowdean. Hello, body positivity! What are your thoughts when you read this? Would your teenage self have agreed with Willowdean?

Terri Hintz, Brand Partnerships: I love Willowdean鈥檚 attitude about her weight, and when she says it like that, it seems so simple and right! Duh! It鈥檚 not a cuss word, it鈥檚 not an insult. People made it into an insult. I tell my kids now (that they are hearing 鈥渟wear words鈥 from other kids) that words are just words. It鈥檚 more about the intention and the meaning behind it. I think so many people use the word 鈥渇at鈥 in a mean way, but what she鈥檚 saying is so true. It鈥檚 not much different than saying she鈥檚 blonde. Or she鈥檚 tall/short. I think it鈥檚 in the delivery and the intent.

Jillienne, Account Executive: I appreciate Willowdean鈥檚 approach, but I don鈥檛 agree. Many people use it as an insult, a way to put ourselves or others down. She says her take is different, but a few characters seem to view weight in a really negative light. I was pretty chubby as a kid. Not fat, but not as slender as I鈥檇 have liked. As a teenager, I was super self-body critical. Fat may have been the worst cuss word out there. I鈥檇 have absolutely disagreed with Will鈥檚 view on it.

Camille, Manager Brit + Co Shop (SF): WHOOOOO HOOOOO! GO WILLOWDEAN!!! Bow down to the body positivity queen! This made me extremely happy. I started wishing that I had this strength in high school. I took everything as an insult or as criticism in my teenage years. I was never strong enough to go: 鈥淔** you, I am what I am.鈥 Self acceptance should be a required class in high school and Willow-body-positivity-queen-dean should be the teacher.


For Willowdean, the Clover City beauty pageant represents all of the values that her town and her mom hold dear. Growing up, what was your version of the Clover City beauty pageant? Were you on the outside like Willowdean, or a full participant?

Jen, Director, Creative Brand Partnerships: I grew up in a salt-of-the-earth midwestern town that also had a beauty pageant, and cheerleaders, and football players and all that went along with it. Beauty queens and jocks alike fit in, and I fell into the jock category. So I guess you can say I was a full participant.

Erika, Product Manager: Like most high schools, cheerleaders ruled supreme in my high school. I always felt so far outside of what people considered cool, or even acceptable. I think it was because I was a runner and kinda enjoyed being tomboy-ish. I lived in my running shorts and tee shirts for four years straight. I didn鈥檛 enjoy dressing up, and like Willowdean, [I] hated that the girls inside that group made it clear I didn鈥檛 belong. It was really hurtful.

What are your thoughts on Bo? Do you think he鈥檚 bad news or good news?


Kelly, DIY Editor: What!! I think he is a good guy! He seems so sweet and innocent. He seems to care for Willowdean a lot and see who she really is inside. I like him 鈥 watch, he鈥檚 the one to kill her in the end. Haha just kidding 鈥 I don鈥檛 think anyone gets murdered in this book.

Jen: I鈥檓 having a similar reaction to Bo as I did to Edward Cullen in the Twilight series. As in not good. Seems like what 鈥渇eels鈥 the most like love to us as teenagers 鈥 that super angsty, lusty, dramatic kind of L.O.V.E. 鈥 ends up being a pretty weird power-struggle relationship that鈥檚 very unhealthy and blows up in flames. But then again, Bella ended up happy in Team Edward at the end of the day, so what do I know?!?

Camille: Bo!!! OMG Bo. He鈥檚 mysterious, dreamy and quiet. What high school girl wouldn鈥檛 swoon? High school me would be doodling his name in hearts all over my notebooks right now. He鈥檚 standing up for Will and there鈥檚 subtle actions that make me think he鈥檚 actually interested. I so badly want to believe he鈥檚 good news gorilla! Although鈥 I might be reading too much into the small things going on around him, but he also sounds like bad news bears. All high school boys are bad news bears! For now, I鈥檒l give him the benefit of the doubt. I鈥橫 ROOTING FOR YOU, BO.

Stay tuned next week, when we tackle a tasty, Dumplin鈥-inspired DIY that you鈥檒l want to serve at your own book club Until then, happy reading, y鈥檃ll!

Have you started reading Dumplin鈥 yet? Do you agree or disagree with these answers? Let us know in the comments below!