The Magnolia Story – Chip and Joanna Gaines


Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people?What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.

In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover:

-The time Chip ran to the grocery store and forgot to take their new, sleeping baby
-Joanna’s agonizing decision to close her dream business to focus on raising their children
-When Chip buys a houseboat, sight-unseen, and it turns out to be a leaky wreck
-Joanna’s breakthrough moment of discovering the secret to creating a beautiful home
-Harrowing stories of the financial ups and downs as an entrepreneurial couple
-Memories and photos from Chip and Jo’s wedding
-The significance of the word magnolia and why it permeates everything they do
-The way the couple pays the popularity of Fixer Upper forward, sharing the success with others, and bolstering the city of Waco along the way

And yet there is still one lingering question for fans of the show: Is Chip really that funny? “Oh yeah,” says Joanna. “He was, and still is, my first fixer upper.”

My review

When I found this memoir at a recent booksale I was taken back to a time just over two years ago, when I was sitting in front of the TV, pregnant and binge watching Fixer Upper. I love the show; the gorgeous, kindhearted Chip and Joanna and the beautiful work that they do in transforming properties into liveable dream homes. I love watching how Joanna takes care to preserve homes and the special touches she gives each home. The reveal of course is exciting to see the looks on the families’ faces.

This memoir was very readable. It is light, funny and just like the TV show. This is exactly the type of read I needed. There were moments when I laughed out loud and moments when I was inspired. This is a couple who encourage oneanother to make their dreams come true, take risks and are devoted to their family. I love their down to earth nature shown on the show and in their book. They are generous towards others and make time for each other. I love that they don’t have a TV at home. Maybe this is the answer for a lot of married couples?! Family is everything and this is emphasised throughout the book.

The style of the memoir is as if they are speaking to the reader and I love that it is written with both Chip and Jo sharing their perspectives on life matters. They are devoted to God and family and I found their faith inspiring.

My favourite parts of the novel were the personal stories on how they overcame challenges together and how they bounced off one another. Chip the risktaker, Joanna, the artist beind each flip.

Each house flipped gave me insight in their progress as house flippers. Joanna developed her style over time to ensure her children had a place to play and to make the home feel comfortable for the whole family. I love her designs. The farmhouse they live in sounds beautiful.

Thank you Chip and Joanna for sharing your story.


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