Genres: Biography & Autobiography
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.
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.
Chip and Joanna Gaines first met when he stopped by her father’s tire store. Then he was 45 minutes late for their first date with no explanation. He didn’t have a plan for what to do either. This should have made her lose interest in him but he talked to her about his plans for buying and renovating small houses. She was intrigued.
I’ve always been interested in that too. In fact we are working on that ourselves now too. But there is one huge difference. As Chip got more and more houses and started eyeing bigger projects, he started taking on large amounts of debt. As an advocate of trying to be debt-free, that made me cringe. It seemed like he had either no idea of the financial risks that he was taking or he just didn’t care. He talks at one point about Joanna thinking they were broke when they had $1000. He didn’t think they were broke until there was no money left at all. Seriously, this would stressful to read if you didn’t know the ending. I feel like the message here could be interpreted as, “Go wild. Go crazy in debt. It’ll be ok. Someone will come along and fix it for you like magic.”
Don’t do that.
Sure, they bumped along for a while in small houses that they would fix up and then rent out. They did a lot of work to build up their various businesses. But a lot of the original capital came from family money and they got bailed out by rich friends after they messed up their credit. So while I think that this is supposed to read like a rags to riches tale of entrepreneurship, there is always the reminder that there were fairly well off parents in the background who weren’t going to let them crash and burn completely.
I did enjoy the story of their multi-day audition for HGTV that was horrible until they got into a fight over Chip buying a houseboat that didn’t float.
This was a quick read that gives you a glimpse of the back story of a popular TV show. It fleshes out the people involved a little more. I think that Chip comes across as more self-centered and irresponsible than he does on TV. He makes a lot of reckless decisions without consulting his wife that he then expects her to deal with. She goes along eventually and makes it sound like it is all fine with her but there is a bit of a brittle edge to her story telling sometimes. I just want to ask her, “Girl, you have an emergency fund in your name only for you and all those babies, right? Because this man is going to do something catastrophic sometime.”
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- POC authors