Dumplin (Dumplin #1) by Julie MurphySelf-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
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The title refers to the unwelcome nickname that the teenage Willowdean, a. Will an irrepressible Danielle Macdonald , has been given by her mother, Rosie Jennifer Aniston, fine if miscast. A former beauty queen, Rosie devotes much of her energy to pageants, including the local Miss Teen Bluebonnet contest. Rosie has obvious issues with Will, who seems as reasonably sane and together as anyone her age. But the nickname suggests that her mother sees her daughter as a blob of dough — barely formed, malleable, disposable.
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The makeover montage is as much a tradition in romantic comedies as the meet cute. Transformation stories about men are more likely to involve superpowers, but for female characters the superpower comes from beauty, no radioactive spiders or gamma rays, just some mascara, a new hairdo, and a pretty dress. Like so much in this film, this makeover comes with a refreshingly smart, funny, wise, and warmhearted twist. Dolly Parton is not just the avatar of aesthetics and attitude; she is pretty much the fairy godmother of the whole movie. Millie enters because she thinks it will be fun, and is confused when the other girls tell her they are entering as an act of rebellion. Yes, a baton does get twirled and a tiara-ready updo gets thoroughly sprayed.