Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Dear Teen Julie

Sometimes, a review just isn't gonna cut it. Sometimes, I just need to get personal with it. So, occasionally, I'll be writing letters to the Julie that needs it to discuss a book. My review for this book will come closer to release.

Dear Teen Julie,

You're probably uncomfortable in your own clothes right now. You don't wear clothes you love very often and it's the end of summer, which definitely doesn't help. You don't go out much and you worry constantly about somebody else asking you if you're pregnant because of that one douche bag and that other drunk guy.

You, dear, sweet, teenage Julie, are fat. And nobody in your life seems to have this same issue. This constant insecurity. This worry about fitting into tight spaces. There's just this little niggling thought that follows you around with everything you do, reminding you that you're fat. Especially during gym. Even the swimming unit, despite your life of swimming, is a thing to dread because swim suits in front of your classmates? Yuck. Clearly they're all going to stare at you and think about what a disgusting human being you are, right?

Oh younger Julie. Let me tell you now - it's not going to suddenly get easier. You're going to start to feel more comfortable in your skin most days. You're going to discover the magic of selfies and how gorgeous you are. You're going to start to feel confident wedging yourself in that subway seat because honestly, you carry your weight pretty well. You're still going to be fat, but you're going to be in better shape. I promise. It'll still haunt you and niggle at you and try to convince you your worthless. But you're going to learn better.

And younger Julie, you're going to read this amazing book. I wish I could give you this book, but it's just not possible this moment. That book is going to have a fat character. Shamelessly fat. And she's going to own her weight and be proud about it and still feel a little worried, a little insecure, but in a way you know. A way you understand to your core. And this fat character? She's going to be fabulous. A pageant contestant and Dolly Parton fan. She's going to be all that I wish you could see. Because if you could see Miss Willowdean? She would rock your world and your perspective of how amazing and beautiful and fat you can be.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy is going to embrace everything you want to be. You want to be fabulous and confident and loved with a great gang of girlfriends - but you wanted to be skinny while doing it. Willowdean is okay being fat and doing it. She's okay being fat and having attention. She's not always comfortable with it, but she lets it happen. And all your fears about somebody loving you while you're fat? She has them too. She knows them. She does what you would do and has to learn from it. Because you can be fat and be loved, Teen Julie. I promise, you can. 

I can't give you Dumplin'. My time travel machine isn't that fancy. But I can read it now. I can read it over and over. I can meet Julie Murphy and collect multiple copies and gush about this book. I can learn from this book, even if I'm not still a teen. I can make sure other teen girls learn from this book since you couldn't. I can make sure other fat teen girls learn that they can be loved and fabulous and fat. And that's what I'm going to do for you. 

Hang in there,
20-year-old Julie

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