Review of Puddin’ by Julie Murphy (digital arc) plus a bit about why I related to it so much now as an adult.




Puddin’ by Julie Murphy


It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. 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 will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.


My thoughts:


I have so many feelings about this book and I doubt I will explain them well.  I absolutely love the way Julie Murphy writes.  Her words are touching, but there is always a lot of humor, too.  Her characters are so easy to relate to and I end up loving them.


Millie   I adored Millie.  She was definitely my favorite person in this book.  Millie was in Dumplin’, but this time the story is about her and Callie.  Millie is overweight and she makes no excuses for it.  She uses the word fat like it’s nothing bad.  She explains that it’s just a word and it’s part of who she is.  Millie is kind to everyone and knows exactly what she wants in life.  Her mom was overweight when she was younger and her whole life is defined by weight loss and diets.  She pushes this on Millie at a young age and sends Millie to “fat camp” every summer.  Millie decides that she’s done with camp, but doesn’t know how to explain it to her mom.


Callie    Callie is the mean girl and is so hard to like at first.  She is rude to just about everyone and is pretty selfish.  She is part of the dance team and they get really upset when the local gym drops their fundraising.  The team decides to get even and ends up vandalizing the gym.  Callie is the only one who is caught and she has to go work at the gym to pay off the debt.  She is also dropped from the team and her boyfriend breaks up with her.  Her whole life is changed by one bad choice.  Callie starts working with Millie and as much as the fights it, she can’t help but like Millie.  Millie’s friendship helps Callie grow so much throughout the book.  We find that Callie has her own personal struggles at times, partly because of her race.  She also has no idea who she is without dance and her boyfriend.  She struggles to make good choices in her life and tends to act on impulse without thinking things through.


The other teens.   We see all the girls back from Dumplin and they add a lot of friendship and laughter to the story.  We also get a couple boys.  Malik who Millie really likes a lot and Mitch that ends up talking to Callie more.  Millie pushes the girls to spend more time together again and they start having slumber parties.  My favorite one was when Callie hosted.


The parents.   We see a lot of love from the parents in the story, but also a lot of flaws.  Callie’s mom is obsessed with the dance team.  She does the right thing with grounding Callie after all the bad things she does, but she also struggles with the fact that her daughter won’t repeat her dance history.  I really liked Callie’s bio dad and wish he would have been in the book more.  Millie’s mom was the big problem parent for me.  Yes, she loved her daughter.  But her focus on weight was such an issue.  This one hit close to home for me.  She just couldn’t be happy with Millie how she was and I could feel Millie’s pain.


“There’s a thin girl in you just waiting to get out.”


Callie’s abuela.   I loved Callie’s abuela so much!  Her relationship with her reminded me a lot of my grandma.  There was just this pure love.  No matter what Callie did, her grandma loved her for who she was.  She had so much wisdom that she shared in the little time we had with her.


“If you only love what comes easy for you, you’ll find you don’t have much to love.  Work for it, girl.”


Puddin’ really focuses on friendships, finding yourself, and being happy with who you are.  There was a little bit of romance, too.  I loved everything about it and gave it 5 stars.


I received a copy from Edelweiss for review.  Quotes are taken from an arc and may change before final publication.



You don’t have to read Dumplin’ to follow Puddin’, but I highly recommend it.  There are references to Dumplin in the book and it will make more sense if you can read it first.  Plus, it’s just a great book.






My story:


I also thought I would get a little personal and explain why I related to this book so much.  This isn’t the most comfortable thing for me to talk about.  I did not relate to Millie as a teenager.  I was thin and curvy and could eat whatever I wanted.  I wasn’t mean like Callie, but I was in dance and probably more like a combination of the two.  But as an adult, I gained a lot of weight.  I’m overweight and nothing has worked to help me lose it.


Every day is a battle in my head to try to accept who I am.  I’m still the same person I was before, just bigger.  But I don’t take pictures anymore and I hate going places where I know I will run into people.  I also have a mom like Millie’s.  Weight is so much of a focus that it’s hard to be around her now.  I visited for two nights last summer and weight was brought up more times than I can count.  I also got the “my friend’s daughter reminds me of you.  She used to be thin and so pretty…”  It’s so hurtful even if she doesn’t mean it to be.  The same way with Millie’s mom.  It hurts Millie to know that even though her mom loves her, she doesn’t accept her and wants to change her.  She thinks that being thin is everything.  I related so much to her now as an adult.  This is part of why I read YA.  I find myself in so many of the people in books.  Sometimes it’s high school me and other times, like with Puddin’, it’s me now.


I’m going to do something I never do.  I’m going to share some pictures.  You can see how me at 18 was thin and curvy.  I still thought I was fat then.  I don’t know why, except that weight was a topic brought up the whole time I was younger.   Fat was made to sound like a horrible thing that I should never want to be.  Then I’m going to share with you the only picture I have with my grandson.  It was taken a year ago after a long day of traveling and labor with my daughter.  I cringe when people try to take pictures of me now.  It’s something I’m sure I will regret later on and I’m really trying to be happy with who I am.  But it’s a daily struggle.


This is me at 18.  I’m 5’1, so a little bit of weight gain would be obvious to me.  I was 95 pounds here.  I never hit 100 pounds in high school.




I was in dance like Callie.  I’m the blond in the middle.  I think I was 15 or 16 here and this was before I started dyeing my hair all the time.




And this is me now.  This is the hard one for me to share.  You can’t see my whole body, but it’s obvious by my face that I’m not the thin girl I was before.




There are some days where I feel content.  I’m usually pretty happy in life, even though there are things I want to change.  But other days I just want to hide out and never see anyone I know.  I was a wreck going to my high school reunion.  I was so afraid of being judged.  I still struggle to realize that fat isn’t a horrible thing.  It’s not a bad word and it doesn’t make me who I am.  But it’s hard.


This is why books like Puddin’ are so important to me.  I find that I relate so much and that I really need these books in my life.  So thank you Julie Murphy for being confident and for writing stories that people of any age can relate to.


Have you read Puddin yet?  How about Dumplin?  What did you think of them?  




Author: confessionsofayareader

My name is Kristi and I review books and mod on TBR and Beyond on Facebook. I love to travel and go to concerts. I've been married for over 20 years. I listen to a lot of pop punk. Otherwise, I'm pretty boring. We do have four grandchildren now and try to see them monthly since they don't live close. I read mostly YA and adult mystery/thrillers. I also read a lot of middle grade and some adult romance. You can also find me on facebook, twitter, and instagram (don't post often).

9 thoughts on “Review of Puddin’ by Julie Murphy (digital arc) plus a bit about why I related to it so much now as an adult.”

  1. I haven’t read Dumplin’ yet but I really want to now there is so much hype about the Puddin’ release! Great review😊 also, well done for sharing your story! I’m a bit on the chubbier side and it really angers me when people use the word fat as a bad thing! It doesn’t have to be!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just reread this… and girl, this is such a beautiful review. Thank you so much for sharing. And you know that you’re so damn beautiful regardless of a pant size, right? And you produced a human life! Like… there is nothing more powerful on this planet! Girl, you are an inspiration! And thank you so much for this post and sharing yourself. I bet you touch so many women out there with your beautiful words.  

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: