Puddin Book Summary By Julie Murphy

What does it mean to be an outcast? Julie Murphy’s novel, Puddin’, follows the story of Millie Michalchuk and her journey to discover what it means to belong. Set in a small Texas town, Puddin’ explores the themes of identity and self-acceptance.

In this article, we will provide a summary of Puddin’ by Julie Murphy, discussing characters, setting, writing style and themes.

The novel follows Millie Michalchuk as she navigates her senior year in high school while dealing with issues of weight prejudice. As she confronts the challenges of being an outcast in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business, Millie learns how to find acceptance on her own terms.

Alongside this journey are two love interests: Callie Reyes – an old friend from childhood – and Jonah Daniels – a new friend who is not afraid to challenge Millie’s beliefs about herself or the world around her. Together they explore what it means to be an individual in a society that celebrates conformity and sameness over difference.

Overview of the Story

In this overview, the narrative follows a young girl as she learns valuable life lessons while growing up in an impoverished rural community.

Puddin, written by Julie Murphy, is a coming-of-age story that explores the complexities of friendship dynamics and family relationships.

The main character, Mary Louise “Puddin” Andersen, is a tenacious and spirited teenager who navigates her way through difficult circumstances with her friends Callie and Brianna.

Puddin’s journey to self-discovery is set against the backdrop of poverty and racial injustice in their small Texas town.

Despite these obstacles, she cherishes her friendships and strives to make life better for herself and those around her.

As the story progresses, Puddin must grapple with difficult choices about how best to love others while still living according to her own values.

Through this exploration of friendship dynamics and familial relationships, readers are able to gain insight into the struggles faced by many people from similar backgrounds.

Ultimately, Puddin demonstrates that it is possible to find joy amidst hardship as long as one remains true to themselves no matter what challenges they may face.

By examining characters’ motivations and actions within their environmental context, readers can gain a greater appreciation for both the beauty of resilience in adversity as well as its limitations — ultimately leading them towards understanding more fully what it means to be human.


Millie, the protagonist of Puddin’, is a determined and rebellious teen who has been in foster care since her mother’s death. She struggles to maintain control over her own life as she navigates through an increasingly difficult school year.

Callie is Millie’s best friend and mentor who helps guide Millie through difficult decisions while providing emotional support during times of distress.


Millie embarks on a journey of self-discovery, striving to balance her own desires with those of the people around her. Throughout Puddin’, readers witness Millie’s struggles as she tries to figure out who she is and where she belongs in this world. She faces numerous obstacles, such as family obligations, peer pressure, and an uncertain future.

Despite these difficulties, Millie perseveres and continues to grow throughout the novel. Her growth is apparent in her increasing confidence in herself and her ability to stand up for what she believes in despite external pressures or expectations. Readers are inspired by Millie’s courage and determination as they join her on this personal journey of exploration and self-empowerment.

With each chapter, it becomes clear that Millie has come into her own—and readers can’t help but cheer for her success. Transitioning from a timid young girl into an independent woman capable of tackling life’s challenges head-on, Millie proves that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.


Through her own journey of growth and development, Callie exemplifies the power of perseverance in the face of adversity.

As Puddin’s best friend, she plays an essential role in both Puddin’s life and story.

In spite of their different family dynamics, backgrounds and friendship styles, Callie remains a faithful companion to Puddin throughout her adventures.

Her loyalty is tested when Millie arrives on the scene and becomes Puddin’s confidante.

Despite this new relationship, Callie manages to maintain a healthy balance between supporting Puddin and nurturing her own emotional growth.

Friendship dynamics are complicated, but Callie navigates them with grace and understanding as she makes room for both companionship and independence within their relationship.

Emotional growth is also an important piece of her character arc as she works through difficult conversations with family members while also learning how to open up to those around her who care deeply about her wellbeing.

With compassion and resilience at its core, Callie illustrates that it is possible to overcome obstacles no matter what form they take.


Set in a small Southern town, the story follows Millie as she navigates her way through an array of humorous and heartwarming scenarios.

The town dynamics are explored through the lens of family relationships, providing insight into how Millie’s support system influences her life.

From awkward interactions at the local cafe to late-night conversations between siblings, the audience quickly grows attached to Millie’s family and friends:

  • Empathy is evoked when Millie’s mom struggles with balancing career and motherhood
  • Laughter ensues when her brother attempts to hide his crush from their parents
  • Patience is tested when tensions rise between two characters
  • Joy erupts during celebrations with close family members.

The setting further develops as Millie embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads her back home.

Julie Murphy artfully portrays relatable moments in her writing that allow readers to feel connected to each character and become invested in their stories.

Writing Style

The writing style of Julie Murphy evokes empathy, laughter, patience, and joy through her use of relatable moments.

Her plot structure is designed to be accessible to the reader while also providing an engaging journey through the novel’s characters.

The character development is open-ended enough that readers are able to draw their own conclusions about them, prompting thoughtful conversations and connections between the characters and the real world.

Murphy employs a conversational tone that helps bring out the levity in various situations without sacrificing any of its emotional depth.

This allows readers to relate to the characters and understand their struggles more deeply than if they were presented from a distant perspective.

Furthermore, there is an element of warmth in Murphy’s writing that encourages feelings of comfort as well as self-reflection for those who read it.

In conclusion, Julie Murphy’s writing style creates an inviting atmosphere for readers with its ability to evoke empathy and understanding while allowing them to enjoy lighthearted moments throughout the story.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how she explores these themes further in her upcoming works.


In Julie Murphy’s writing, themes of empathy, laughter, patience, and joy are explored through the vivid allusion of everyday life.

Through the characters’ emotional impacts on each other within their friendship dynamics, her stories paint a picture of how difficult it can be to both show empathy and receive it.

These themes are often presented in light moments where the reader is invited to laugh along with the characters, but there are also more serious moments that emphasize the need for patience when dealing with complex emotions and relationships.

Ultimately, readers come away from Puddin’ with a sense of joy as they identify with these relatable characters and experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the genre of Puddin?

Puddin is a young adult novel by Julie Murphy which combines elements of contemporary themes and dark comedy.

The book follows the story of Millie Michalchuk, who has to confront her feelings about identity and belonging as she navigates high school life.

Through its quirky characters and unique plot, Puddin explores themes of friendship, family dynamics, acceptance and self-discovery in an entertaining manner.

The novel offers readers a liberating experience that encourages them to think critically about their own lives.

What critical reception has Puddin received?

Puddin, a young adult novel by Julie Murphy, has been met with critical acclaim due to its exploration of gender identity and mental health.

Employing an effective use of rhetorical devices throughout the narrative, Murphy presents readers with a compelling story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The book has been praised for its vivid depictions of the struggles faced by many individuals living in contemporary society, while also providing hope for liberation from such issues.

By weaving together themes of self-acceptance and growth, Murphy’s work offers a unique perspective on gender identity and mental health that resonates with readers worldwide.

How does Puddin compare to Julie Murphy’s other works?

Julie Murphy’s novel, Puddin’, is a unique exploration of themes and shifting perspectives. Consistent with her other works, the story follows protagonist Millie Michalchuk on her journey to self-discovery.

Throughout the novel, she struggles to understand who she is and what it means to be an outcast in society. The narrative shifts from present day issues to historic events as she grapples with understanding how society has shaped her identity.

Murphy’s use of vivid imagery and engaging dialogue allow readers to connect with Millie’s experience and explore their own feelings of liberation.

Is there a movie or television adaptation of Puddin?

Puddin, a novel by Julie Murphy, has yet to receive a movie or television adaptation.

Despite this, the book is well-loved for its character development and cultural themes that are woven together like an intricate web.

The story’s diverse set of characters, each with their own unique backgrounds and perspectives, offer readers an opportunity to explore different sides of humanity with empathy.

Furthermore, the discussions around gender identity issues throughout the narrative provide readers with liberation from preconceived notions.

This is no doubt why Puddin continues to capture the hearts and minds of its readers without any cinematic adaptation.

What is the age range for which Puddin is suitable?

Puddin, by Julie Murphy, is suitable for readers from a variety of age ranges.

For young adults and teenagers, the novel offers an exploration of family dynamics through its unique combination of humor and poignancy.

Additionally, the narrative delves into important literary themes such as friendship, self-discovery, resilience, and coming of age.

Through its relatable characters and engaging storylines that focus on moments of liberation, Puddin provides an emotionally satisfying experience for all ages.


Julie Murphy’s Puddin’ is a novel about coming of age, self-discovery and acceptance. The story follows protagonist Millie Michalchuk as she navigates her first year of high school and attempts to overcome the challenges that come with growing up.

Through Millie’s journey, readers are presented with a cast of characters who reflect diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Set in an urban environment, the story explores themes such as identity, friendship, family and love.

Murphy’s writing style is humorous yet heartfelt and it effectively captures the emotions associated with adolescence. By combining elements of irony throughout her narrative, Murphy creates an engaging experience for readers that encourages them to explore their own values in life.

Ultimately, Puddin’ serves as a reminder that we all have unique experiences and voices that should be celebrated instead of silenced.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *