All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on.
Author: Julie Murphy
Number of pages: 384 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Fat representation!
Bad things about this book: Will made me angry but the writing kept me glued to the pages.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here
I’ve had this book for so long, yet I left it there along with so many unread books because I impulse buy everything and read slowly! I bought this book because it was about a fat girl and fat girls don’t usually get the spotlight. I have always somewhat related to a lot of characters in the past but rarely in body type. I was happy to read about other girls like me.
I’m not like Willowdean, though; I’m obese (the numbers don’t lie) but I’m not as big as her. I was never bullied because of my body and I find clothes my size in franchising stores. I wear whatever I feel comfortable in and, to hell to “normal” beach bodies, in summer I put on a swimsuit and enjoy the sun and the ocean. I’m not ashamed of being the biggest girl on the beach. I don’t care of sitting next to skinny girls. I want to lose a few kg but it’s because of healthy reasons, I’m not ashamed of how I look.
The word fat makes people uncomfortable. But when you see me, the first thing you notice is my body. And my body is fat. It’s like how I notice some girls having big boobs or shiny hair or knobby knees. Those things are okay to say. But the word fat, the one that best describes me, makes lips frown and cheeks lose their color.
My mother is like Will’s mother. Obsessed with weight, she becomes anxious at the sight of food. She’s been on a diet since she was a teenager because my grandma is exactly like her. When she came to stay with us for a few months, she kept referring to me as “gordita”, fatty in Spanish. I was not bothered because I am fat, but my mom hated it. She is too fixated on how we must look that she doesn’t stop to ask if I’m happy the way I am. I’m miserable when I’m on a diet. Miserable and sad. I think a lot of my eating issues are because of her but I won’t tell her; I love her and I know she means well even if it hurts me so much when she judges me when I eat.
So being a fat girl with a mother like Willowdean’s, I related so much to her but at the same time I wanted to scream and shake her because she had the opportunities a lot of us don’t have and she was letting them slip away. I understood where she was coming from but that didn’t make it easier to read. She had not one but two boys interested in her, boys who didn’t see her body as an obstacle, something to hide or to run from, but as part of the package that made Will so interesting and adorable.
Lucy, my mom, Ellen, Bo. Little versions of each of them seem to live inside of me, one louder than the next. The only voice that isn’t there – the one I need the most – is my own.
I loved that the boys weren’t the real problem of the book; her friends weren’t the problem either. The problem was Willowdean all along. She had to face her insecurities and come out victorious. As cliché as it may sound, she was indeed the only one standing in her way from happiness. She chose to enter the beauty pageant as some kind of protest but also to challenge herself. I liked seeing how she took the competition.
The ending was really sweet I almost forgot how angry I was with Will for a lot of choices she made. Today I received Puddin’, the companion novel to Dumplin’ but from Millie’s pov. That’s going to be interesting to read!