The Book Mark: “Dumplin’” makes her debut on the Netflix runway

A story of acceptance, growing up, and how a good song can inspire someone to take on the world, “Dumplin’” tells a modernized account of learning to love oneself in a harsh society.

Julie Murphy goes big. She wrote a heart-warming book that was the basis of an enthralling movie.

Julie Murphy goes big. She wrote a heart-warming book that was the basis of an enthralling movie.

Maria Adams, Copy Editor

Maria Adams
Ashley Wilhelm, junior, adores the people in her life that support and love her. Wilhelm gained confidence over the past years by ignoring comments and surrounding herself with kind friends.
Maria Adams
Elisabeth Elmore, junior, challenges others to look for the beauty in themselves. She persevered over the comments made about her body and clothing when she was young.

On Dec. 7, Netflix posted “Dumplin’”, and the movie took over screens. The movie capture hearts through relating to the audience because we all have or are going through the awkward stages of adolescence; however, the book was better.

“Dumplin’”, written by Julie Murphy, explores the life of a plus-sized and curvy young woman struggling with deciding who she is. Willowdean, also known as Dumplin’, decides to rebel against her community and mother that believes Willowdean did not have the typical “beauty-queen” body and spirit to participate in a pageant. She messes up a lot but in the end, comes through looking like a queen. Willowdean relies on her Aunt Lucy and Dolly Parton to overcome some of the most common struggles of growing up.

These 375 pages of beautiful and talented writing take the reader on a wild ride. Willowdean overcomes the loss of her dear aunt, changing friendships, and navigates her first romantic relationship with a boy.

Beauty cannot be described in one way, but it can be seen in everyone. The beauty in the broken, the design of a drag queen, or the style of the silent all show the complications of defining what beauty truly is.

“Sometimes figuring out who you are means understanding that we are a mosaic of experiences. I’m Dumplin’. And Will and Willowdean. I’m fat. I’m happy. I’m insecure. I’m bold,” Murphy wrote.

Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media outlets allow us to send a picture of ourselves to the world, yet sometimes, we look at these pictures and respond with disgust and insecurity which then leads us to redo our makeup, set up the camera in the perfect light and edit the blemishes that only we see and care about.

“The only person making this about my body is me,” Murphy wrote.

We have been told that beauty only comes to certain people, but I disagree. We live in a world of differences that should be celebrated.

“I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won’t zip…Perfection is nothing more than a phantom shadow we’re all chasing,” Murphy wrote.

We do not need to be perfect; we just need to be ourselves. No matter how hard anyone tries, a certain aspect will always look something along the lines of ugly. Maybe, if we looked in the mirror and saw ourselves how those who love us do, we could be confident enough to be who we are.

In the book, Aunt Lucy suffered from being overweight, but the message is hidden in the movie. I believe that while Murphy made a point to create a book about atypical body shapes that does not emphasize a need to change how the characters look.

Nicholas Bates, junior, confidently claims his style. Bates is proud to be who he is, even if he is still discovering.

American obesity grows each year, so the topic could have been easily addressed in the book and movie. The mother eats healthy foods and shares her concerns for her daughter’s health, but she is made into the “bad guy”. I happen to not share that view and am concerned about the effect it will have on society. On the other hand, I do appreciate the topic of acceptance being approached in such a creative way.

Ashley Edwards, junior, celebrates her uniqueness. Edward accepted the fact that she was special due to her personality an style.

Overall, I preferred the book, but the move was a feel-good movie that opens eyes to the truth about self-love. Acceptance starts within someone, because if one cannot accept themselves, how can anyone else be expected to?


Book: 8/10

Movie: 7/10