Double Feature — Book & Movie Review of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy #booksandchai

I picked up this book, thinking I’d get a body-positive message out of it. But it fails on that account. A fat girl who cringes at other fatter girls — even while coming to their aid against bullies — and makes a mockery out of the one thing that she was going to use to send a message about body positivity; that’s what I got. In a nutshell, that isn’t the kind of show that I came to watch.

The pageant thing really got my goat. If you’re going to use a platform to rebel, then, at least, respect its rules. The heroine did close to nothing for the different tasks that make up the competition. If she meant to put out the message that fat girls are lazy, well that one, she got across fine!

Yet another thing that really bothered me was her relationship with the guy whom she worked with at the diner. He was everything that she wasn’t, so when they’re together at the end, it only reinforces one thing: good fat girls are rewarded with not-fat hot boyfriends. How’s that progressive in any way? And, give me one good reason why the book needed a love interest in the first place. Also, that whole phase where she and her guy suck face in remote places just made the whole thing seem dirty.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the way Will treated the jock who was interested in her. I kept thinking, maybe, for once, the girl will end up with the guy who values her for her. But nope, she went straight to the cardboard cutout of a guy, Bo.

How the mother and daughter deal with their grief in different ways was the best thing about this book.

The movie is different from the book in several ways. I don’t know if that’s for the better or not but I’ll mention some. Firstly, the whole dirty remote-kissing phase isn’t part of the movie. Secondly, the major part of the book concerned itself with the fight between the MC and her BFF, Ellen. The movie shortens it so much that it loses the powerful effect it had on both the girls’ lives. Healthy female friendships are a good thing and that is the one of the few things that I liked while reading this mess of a book. But the movie got rid of that.

And ugh, they combined two characters to create a very stereotypical goth one. Not cool at all. They held their own in the book.

To me, the movie felt rushed and incomplete. And I found the book to be a mess.


P.S. the review of the second book’s here.

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