If you like their television show, you’ll love their book. Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame are just as fun and authentic in their book, The Magnolia Story, as they are on TV.
You’re not going to find any scorching revelations, but The Magnolia Story does a nice job of telling the Gaines’ back story. Reading the history that led to “Fixer Upper” is fascinating, and it just makes me love the Gaineses and the show all the more. The photo album at the end (the end of the Kindle edition anyway) is awesome.
With it’s breezy style and mostly chronological storytelling, I read this book in three days. So The Magnolia Story is not a literary marvel, but it does appear to be true to who the authors are in real life (or at least on TV). Written with Mark Dagostino, this memoir effectively captures both voices. Even on Kindle, it’s clear by the font who is speaking. Joanna with a background in communications probably did more actual writing; as on “Fixer Upper,” she tells most of the story and Chip adds colorful humor. And like Joanna’s design aesthetic is clean yet sophisticated, the simple storytelling offers deeper meaning. Here are a few of my favorite gems sprinkled among their personal stories:
- “It all seemed to be working out in that perfectly messy way life works when you trust in God and his plans for your life rather than focusing on your own.”
- I always thought that the ‘thriving’ would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.”
- “Letting it all go is freeing. (And it’s cheaper too!)”
If I had to summarize the message of The Magnolia Story, it would be “Be yourself. To the max. And enjoy the journey.” Who can argue with that? I read this book at exactly the time I needed to hear these messages. Reading it inspired me, not to design homes in Waco, but to embrace whatever comes along as intrinsically part of the story. And also to work harder (it’s obvious they’re hard workers). The Magnolia Story offers an uplifting message not just about the Gaines’ lives but for everyone.
Tomorrow: Check out my Minnesota Transplant blog for a post about visiting Waco, Texas, the city where Chip and Joanna Gaines do many of their house makeovers.