I broke the rules *gasp* and watched the movie first. I’m kinda glad I did. DUMPLIN’ has been on the to-read list for months, but alas it gets kicked to the back over and over again. And when the new Netflix movie came out, I couldn’t resist. Guess what, I loved it.

The movie starring Danielle MacDonald and Jennifer Aniston was funny, bittersweet at times, and made me smile from ear to ear. I only hoped the book would hold up. Luckily it was available on Scribd so I started it yesterday. I couldn’t put it down and finished it today.

There are so many things to love about this easy read. From the beginning, there’s a strong sense of voice I crave but don’t seem to find as often as I’d like. Willowdean is her own person from the first chapter. She comes off the page and dances through your head to a Dolly Parton song. As someone who has struggled with liking her body for most of her life, I understand Willowdean on a personal level. This struggle between perceived confidence and real confidence. Between worrying about what other people think and not giving a shit. Wanting to be loved for who you are, just the way you are. The struggle is real and Julie Murphy captures all of these conflicting emotions in a teenage world so perfectly.

There are some big difference between the book and the movie but nothing that I felt changed my preference for one over the other. There are fewer characters in the movie and ultimately I think they focused and brought out the best moments to make an endearing film.

I totally recommend this for anyone who has lost someone recently, loves or hates beauty queens, has ever had any sort of self-doubt, had a tenuous relationship with there mother, or none of the above and they just want a stupid cute book to enjoy for a long evening.

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