“Riots. not diets!”
I devoured Dumplin‘, by Julie Murphy, when I first heard of it a few years ago. Fat main character? Sold! Puddin’, the companion novel, was no different. Instead of following the trials and tribulations of Dolly Parton obsessed Willowdean, we hear from two complete opposites: dancer Callie Reyes and Miss Positivity, Millie Michalchuk.
Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
I’ve been chubby my entire life. I would look silly if I was stick thin. I have of course gone through the hardships of struggling to buy clothes or having all my friends from my dance team have the perfect dancer body, while I was trying pull my booty shorts out from up my butt. Julie Murphy knows how to write about fat girls without making them complain or have everything be about their weight. So many times you can have a fat main character who’s entire being is based around being fat or weight loss. While that was prevalent, it was mainly brought on by other people in the story, not Millie herself.
While I really loved the story and getting to know more characters from the Dumplin’ world, I wish more happened. With a book clocking in at almost 450 pages, there wasn’t a lot of plot moving it along. On the flip side, there also wasn’t much reflection either. I think these characters and the friendship Callie and Millie formed was really great, I wanted to see more. More depth, maybe, with their friendship. It seemed like they kind of just all of sudden considered each other best friends. I wanted to see the struggle, more of the give-and-take.
All-in-all it was a fun book, but definitely didn’t hold up to the greatness of Dumplin’.