I needed something lighthearted with substance. And I found it. Or, rather, it found me...by way of a good friend. I was visiting my friend, Allie, who has a home library much bigger than mine (which I love her for), and she handed me a book off her shelf one day and said, "When you need something light and enjoyable, you should read this." I took the book and put it in my TBR stack at home.
After reading a few well-written, but depressing, books, I turned my reading eyes (and my hope) on the book my friend had let me borrow: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy. I already had a hint of what the book was about from previewing it, and I was happy to relax into something that would make me smile. What I found in Dumplin' was a whole lot more. Of course, it's set in Texas,...which means you should always expect more. ;)
I can sum up the flavor of this book with just a few key words without giving anything away. Are you ready?
Willowdean (a.k.a. Dumplin'), overweight, high school, Texas, Dolly Parton songs, best friends, dating, beauty pageants
Now, while the words I chose may seem like your run-of-the-mill teen drama, it really isn't. This book is filled with Southern humor, hard truths delivered with a soft touch and a smirk, and gives you a heroine you can't help but understand and cheer for. It's well-written in a simplistic manner that I truly enjoyed.
Willowdean is the narrator in the novel, and she makes me smile and touches my heart. She gives insights about humans while telling us about her own struggles. And she's one of those characters I know I'll carry in my heart for a long time.
I'd like to send out a special thank you to Julie Murphy for proving a book can be lighthearted and deep, and for proving that humor and substance can go together quite well in the hands of a good writer.