“Go big or go home.” This is the phrase that the smart, funny, confident and fat Texas teen Willowdean Dickson uses to confront the new challenges to her self-esteem. Willowdean (her former beauty queen mother calls her “Dumplin”) certainly goes big.
Willowdean has a good sense of herself, and with her best friend Ellen by her side, things have always worked. She’s uninterested in her mom’s responsibilities as the director of the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant and how it annually takes over the town and Willowdean’s house and the fact that her mom is dieting to fit into her dress and pressuring Willowdean to diet, too. She doesn’t. She is mourning the loss of her Aunt Lucy, a second parent to her who died six months earlier. She has taken a job at Harpy’s, a local fast food joint, and is attracted to her co-worker, Bo, a hot, sort-of-boyfriend. She is surprised that Bo likes her back and makes Willowdean panic with newfound insecurity. She loses him, loses her best friend and gains new social-outsider buddies who view her as their new hero and trailblazer. To gain back her confidence, Willowdean enters the Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant to show the world that she deserves to be in the pageant as much as any other girl. Along the way, she shocks the residents of Clover City, Texas, and most of all, herself.
“Dumplin” takes you on a triumphant journey that includes starry Texas nights, Dolly Parton songs, drag queens, breaking pageant rules and repairing relationships. This book will steal your heart. CV
Donna Kalsch enjoys being outdoors and loves to cook. Here’s to a new year!