The Magnolia Story
by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino
Published by Thomas Nelson
I have a confession – I never heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines, or their HGTV show Fixer Upper, until they were well into their 4th season.
In the early days of HGTV I was an avid viewer, it was a fun network that was all about what their network call letters stood for – Home and Garden. But then it got into the reality TV mode, and shows started to become more about flipping homes, and other formats that focused on home owners, and not the home. The decorating shows that I loved were gone – so I stopped watching. Second confession – I really, really don’t like reality TV!
But then I kept hearing about this married couple who had a show called Fixer Upper; and apparently they had quite a following. My curiosity was piqued, so when HGTV ran a marathon one Saturday afternoon, I decided to give it a shot. Confession number three – I fell in love! The show is just that good! Chip and Joanna Gaines are smart, talented, and obviously have a wonderful relationship.
Watching the show, you get a pretty good sense of who they are – but how did they get there? This book tells the story of how Chip and Joanna fell in love, married, started flipping houses, started a family, and built their business and their brand. Their story is an inspiration – not on how they became savvy business owners, they’ve had their ups and downs on that front; and not on how they became TV stars, because that almost didn’t happen.
What’s so inspirational about this couple is how they believe in each other, how they prop each other up when the chips are down (no pun intended), and how they work through their problems knowing that whatever happens, they are stronger together. At first they appear to be complete polar opposites, but as you read their story, you realize that they aren’t that different. They have the same drive and work ethic to get things done and to succeed. They just seem to go about a little bit differently. Chip is comical and outgoing; Joanna is quiet and an introvert – for them, it was a match made in heaven. I loved reading about their early days, and how Joanna explains that she herself couldn’t even explain the attraction that she had for someone so boisterous.
I really enjoyed this little peek into their lives; their lows – how Chip’s dogs caused him to be arrested; Joanna telling the story of coming home after their idyllic honeymoon, only to find herself sleeping on the floor with a carpet stinking of dog urine; and how they almost lost everything. And their highs – how they rebounded back from the brink of bankruptcy; and how a houseboat gave them the opportunity to have their own TV show.
This book is a pretty quick read, narrated by Joanna (with Chip jumping in), as they each tell their story in the same funny and heartwarming way that they display on Fixer Upper. If you’re a fan of the show, this book is a must!
Next up on my Chip and Joanna Gaines reading list – Chip’s new book “Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff”, and Joanna’s new design book, which isn’t out yet, but I certainly plan on getting a copy.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chip and Joanna Gaines, check out their website: https://magnoliamarket.com and their TV show on HGTV, which is about to go into its 5th season, http://www.hgtv.com/shows/fixer-upper.