I finished Dumplin’ and loved every second. I remember I wanted to underline entire chapters of it. So much of that book spoke to me. I was never the thinnest girl (not to mention the one-leggedness) around. I remember one year my New Year’s Resolution was to be a waif. That’s healthy, I know. I just always felt like if I was thinner that people would like me more. Maybe they’d notice my one-leggedness less? I don’t know. I just knew that the world was telling me that being thinner was the best way to be.
But, this book is not just about Willow and her weight. In fact, to me it wasn’t about that so much as Willowdean loving herself and others accepting her. I loved the struggle in her friendship with Ellen. It was weird to see my friendships reflected so clearly in a book (I never got the guy, though). Ellen is “perfect” in Willowdean’s eyes. She’s tall, thin, and has a boyfriend. Jealousy when someone else all of a sudden becomes YOUR BFF’s NEW BFF. I remember those feelings, and still feel that way sometimes.
I also loved the grief that Willowdean was still struggling with. The loss of her Aunt is something that still resonates deep within her. The way that Julie Murphy crafted those waves and scenes in which Willow was trying to understand her own heartbreak were some of the most real to me.
If you can’t tell I enjoyed this book immensely. So much of it just sat on my heart. It reminded me of when I read Eleanor and Park and the feelings it left me with. I love books that just sort of sit in my chest for a while and burrow their way into my heart.