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review 2019-07-07 03:43
Puddin' - Julie Murphy

Normally I'm not a big fan of reading stories told from the point of views from two different characters, mostly because the characters end up sounding so similar that I usually can't tell who's point of view it is if I forget. This was, thank God, not the case this time.

Millie was a ray of sunshine, she was so positive, and it was honestly refreshing to see a character like this. Not that there aren't positive characters in fiction, but Millie did it in a way that was practical and real and didn't grate on your nerves. Because you're in her head you can see her thought process and how much effort and energy it takes for her to be this positive all the time especially considering the people she deals with and the kind of treatment she gets.

I love the way that the topic of weight and fatness and the stereotypes that people have about those things affect the everyday lives of folks who are fat. The little things that people don't think have any effect you see through Millie that they do and the kind of resentment that can build up over time when you have to grin and bear it.

I thought Millie's relationship with her mother was a great aspect of the story to look into and the miscommunication that the two experience and how it affects her relationship. And I could relate to what it feels like to have that kind of relationship with your parent, to follow orders for so long that your parent kind of stops hearing you at some point until things blow up and they have to.

Millie was a very real character, she had her hopes and her dreams and her feelings and I love that you get to experience the learning process with her as she learns about asexuality and what that means for her friend and about different types of struggles.

I think my favourite thing about this book was the amount of diversity that was present which was great because it's reflective of the world that we live in. It was very reflective of something I saw online a while ago that went, "If there's no reason for all of your characters to be white and straight then they don't need to be." And I love that the author explored that just because you were part of one minority group didn't mean you were excused from having prejudiced thoughts or being discriminatory of other minority groups. We love intersectionality.

I could relate to Callie, personality-wise. She had a lot of negative aspects to her like she was vindictive, rigid, high-key an asshole, a little self-centered, and a little superficial and shallow. And it took me a minute to admit to myself that I had those qualities as well.

I liked seeing Callie's character arc because she managed to maintain the essence of who she was as a character while also showing growth as a person. She was a little bit much to handle in the beginning, even I found myself thinking, "Ok sis, maybe take a nap and calm down."

And I'm sure literally every single person I'm friends with has had the same thought about me multiple times.

I'm doing a worse job of describing Callie but I can't really put it into words and I think it was because I connected to her so much that I just get it. Almost everything from the way that she behaved and reacted to things was somewhere along the lines of what I would say or do when confronted with the same situation.

There was one particular situation that stood out and was impressionable on me. At one point Callie prints out and distributes posters all over her school some secrets about several members of what used to be her dance team and I had found myself in pretty much the same situation at one point this year (minus the dance team and the vandalism etc).

Unlike Callie, I had the sense of mind in time to not go through with that decision. But it was interesting to me to see exactly what my consequences might have looked like if I had, how I would've made that person feel, and most of all, the regret that I no doubt would have felt if I had gone through with it. And the lesson that you shouldn't act on things when you're high on anger and adrenaline and have skewed details.

And what also really stood out to me is when Millie said to Callie that she chooses to be the way that she is and that she didn't have to. And it's true, because while Callie is a good person, she's not a nice person or a kind person, for her it's a choice that she has to actively make and I got it.

It's just been a really long time since I've read a character that I've understood on such a deep and personal level that it's actually left me in awe I'm not gonna lie. And if you can't relate to either of these characters, maybe you'll have some understanding that you didn't have before.

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text 2019-05-20 16:15
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 372 pages.
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

Okay, I lied. I went to the library. This will be my stay-cation read. 

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text 2019-03-14 00:25
Rethinking . . .
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

I got "Dumplin'" from my local public library recently because people raved about how fun both the book and the TV movie were. And I always read the book first . . .

Yes, the novel was quite fun. But it was also a bit disappointing, because the characters were all (or mostly) just a little bit too good to be true. And I think I'm not in a personal place right now to be much enchanted by a novel that is about not much more than the social problems of American (Texan, even!) teenagers. I've got my own problems and am pretty "over it." 


But I saw Murphy's follow-up, "Puddin," in the Target yesterday, and I couldn't resist - I read the flap copy.

It's a sequel.

It's a sequel featuring the relentlessly optimistic, probably clueless, sweet, overprotected, chubby girl and bullying target, Millie. It also features the one character in "Dumplin'" I pretty much loathed, the one-dimensional bitch, Callie (who, apparently, gets a last name in the sequel). 


A book for Millie. That, I might have to read. 



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text 2018-07-29 20:43
Puddin’ by Julie Murphy $1.99
Puddin' - Julie Murphy

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a little girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream of being a newscaster—and to kiss the boy she’s crushing on.


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 surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing that they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

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review 2018-05-18 18:30
Sei wer du bist
DUMPLIN': GO BIG OR GO HOME - Claudia Adjei,Julie Murphy

Willowdean hat sich immer wohlgefühlt. Zwar ist sie dick, hat sich davon aber niemals einschüchtern lassen. Auch wenn sie ihre Mutter stets liebevoll Dumplin' - Knödel - nennt, ihr Leibesumfang hat ihr nie etwas ausgemacht. Doch dann lernt sie den attraktiven Bo kennen und zum ersten Mal wäre es ihr lieber schlank zu sein. 

Dumplin' alias Will ist ein dicker Teenager, der sich nie daran gestört hat etwas voluminöser zu sein. Sie hat sich nie für ihren Körper geschämt und war damit zufrieden. Als der hübsche Bo heimlich um sie wirbt, wird Will bewusst, dass sie sich doch nicht so wohlfühlt. Liegt es an ihr? Sind die anderen bzw. die Gesellschaft daran schuld? Um sich und der Welt zu beweisen, dass Schönheit relativ ist, beschließt sie am  „Miss Teen Blue Bonnet“-Schönheitswettbewerb teilzunehmen. Und zieht damit einen Rattenschwanz hinter sich her ...

Dumplin' erzählt ihre Geschichte direkt an den Leser gewandt. Anhand der Ich-Perspektive lernt man das dralle Mädchen kennen und schließt sie sofort ins Herz. Sie ist ein interessanter Charakter, der mit sich und ihren Vorstellungen von sich kämpft. Dabei kommt sie nicht ohne Ecken und Kanten aus, weil sie auch verletzend sein kann. Beispielsweise indem sie ihrer besten (und schlanken!) Freundin verwehrt, sich ebenfalls zur Wahl der "Miss Teen Blue Bonnet" zu stellen.

Ich habe Willowdeans Entschlusskraft bewundert. Sie hat sich bewusst dazu entschieden, sie selbst zu sein und sich für niemanden zu verbiegen. Das fällt ihr zwar manchmal schwer, dennoch hält sie daran fest.

Eine weitere wichtige Rolle nimmt Willowdeans Mutter ein. Diese hat selbst einmal die Krone der "Miss Teen Blue Bonnet" getragen und ihr Leben seither dem Schönheitswettbewerb als Obfrau verschrieben. Sie richtet ihn jährlich aus und hat darin sozusagen ihren Zweck gefunden.

Die Handlung ist alles andere als Klischee. Es ist jetzt nicht so, dass Willowdean abzunehmen beginnt und als strahlender Schwan am Ende mit dem Schönheitswettbewerb-Krönchen eine Runde über den See plätschert. Es geht eher darum, dass jeder mit sich selbst unzufrieden ist und wir Akzeptanz von anderen aber auch von uns selbst brauchen, um glücklich zu sein. So spielen viele weitere Nebenfiguren in die Handlung rein, die allesamt durch offensichtliche Makel - seien es ein kürzeres Bein, ein Pferdegebiss oder auch das Leben als Transvestit - vor allem ihre individuelle Perfektion hervorheben. Die klare Botschaft ist für mich: Egal, wie du aussiehst, wer du bist oder woher du kommst, zuerst musst du dich selbst lieben bevor du es anderen zugestehen kannst. 

Der Handlungsverlauf war schön, gut und logisch aufgebaut. Einzig, manchmal ist es mir ein bisschen zu lasch vorgekommen. Eine Prise mehr Action hätte der Geschichte meiner Ansicht nach gut getan. 

Stilistisch und dramaturgisch fand ich die Geschichte allerdings einwandfrei. Man begleitet Will, wie sie zu sich selbst findet, folgt ihren Gedankengängen und setzt sich mit ihren Ängsten, Wünschen und Sorgen auseinander. Sie lernt, sich selbst zu akzeptieren, auch wenn es ihr meistens Probleme bereitet. Außerdem erkennt sie, dass auch alle anderen nicht komplett zufrieden mit sich sind. 

Für mich ist „Dumplin': Go Big or Go Home“ eine schöne Geschichte für zwischendurch, die Äußerlichkeiten thematisiert, die in Wirklichkeit nicht wichtig sind, und die wohl häufig überbewertet werden. 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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