Review: The Magnolia Story


The Magnolia Story
Written by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino
Published by W Publishing on October 18, 2016
Memoir; 182 pages
Purchased from Amazon


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.

First of all, I’m a HUGE fan of Fixer Upper. My husband and I recently built a new home. When we have visitors, one of the first questions is “Do you watch Fixer Upper?” Yep, I do! I think the main reason I love the show is how unscripted it is. It is real life with a design focus. I was really excited when I heard that Chip and Joanna Gaines were writing their story. I got it the day it came out. After reading The Magnolia Story, I was not disappointed. It read just like their show. However, they provided so much more. This memoir is their real story.


Joanna is the storyteller with Chip chiming in with his anecdotes. It pretty much mirrors the TV show. This is a perfect way to tell their story. You feel you are in a room with them while they tell you their ups and downs. Joanna has the lovely, well-spoken voice while Chip gives his wild and crazy quips. But at the same time, they share their story that is filled with real trials and tribulations.

I have to say that Joanna is a flat-out saint! Chip is a real handful. His impulsive nature would be a challenge to any sane person. It’s amazing how she can deal with all of impulsiveness and keep her sanity. She really laid it our there how hard it was at times to deal with of all of Chip’s surprises. I really loved how honest they were about their life and marriage. On the show, it may seem they have this perfect, idyllic life. After reading The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna faced a lot hard problems that most married couples face. What I really love, is that most couples would have called it quits when it got that tough. The Gaines are a couple that leads by example. They are pretty much “what you see is what you get.”

As a working mom, I really understand Joanna’s angst about having a perfect home and maintaining a job to help support the family. Her revelations really spoke to me: surviving or thriving. I think everyone woman would understand her conflict and having to, finally, let some things go. We can’t be perfect. All we need to do is be a good mother to our children and a good wife to our husbands. But it’s also ok to have our outside interests and work.

I really loved this quote:

It all came down to a mind shift in which I asked myself, “What am I going for in life?” Was it to achieve somebody’s else’s idea of what a perfect home should look like? Or was it to live fully in the perfection of the home and family I have?

Chip and Joanna Gaines didn’t disappoint with this charming and honest memoir. They let people know that they are not perfect and they have to work hard to have a successful marriage, family and business. I encourage all fans of Fixer Upper, and basically everyone else, to pick up The Magnolia Story. You will find it funny and inspiring.


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