The Book Nook: Jan. 17, 2017

Title: The Magnolia Story

Authors: Chip and Joanna Gaines

Genre: Biography

Fans of HGTV and the network’s hit show “Fixer Upper” will greatly enjoy the new novel from television stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, titled “The Magnolia Story”. While majority of celebrity biographical novels include name-dropping, gossip and offer the sneak peek of what goes on behind closed doors in Hollywood, Chip and Joanna bear their souls and talk about their love and faith throughout their life together. For this couple, a television show was never their goal but rather giving back to the community they grew up in and reinventing what “home” meant to every single person in their town of Waco, Texas. There are also fun, anecdotal chapters that tie into how their show came to be, such as the recurring presence and meaning of the magnolia flower and Chip’s impulsive buy of a broken-down house boat.

It is almost impossible to imagine the duo not having the hit show they do now, let alone being together as a couple. The two write both about and with each other in a loving style and voice. Joanna writes about their first date that almost did not happen and yet a voice in the back of her head told her “this is the man you are going to marry.” Chip writes about how Joanna, a broadcasting major throughout college, stepped into the interior decorating field without a hitch and how impressed he was in her skill and talent. Although they did not know it at the time, the bits and pieces of their life were leading up to them bringing their philosophy and gift to the national level.

Although their journey worked out in the end, Joanna touches on their hiccups along the way. Their lives and business started smoothly but as they began building a family, things got put on hold. It also wasn’t easy continuing a business throughout a recession. But through their faith and friendships, they were able to reach out for financial help and they ended up paying it all back plus interest. A growth in their business was all thanks to more locals wanting to invest in Chip’s company Magnolia Homes and copy some of Joanna’s unique interior designs. These designs were a part of how Joanna wanted to recreate the idea of a home in the eyes of her clients, as she realized she was worried too much about the “perfect Pinterest house and life” rather than enjoying the life and joy of her young children.

As far as biographical books go, the heart of this couple really stood out in their writing. It was an enjoyable and simple read, a book I received as a Christmas present and was able to finish in the span of two days. It is easy to follow along since Joanna is the primary narrator and Chip (albeit a cheesy editing technique) jumps in with his two cents, in a different font. The show itself is a favorite of mine to binge-watch a marathon of, but this book invites viewers of the show to really understand what Chip and Joanna believe in from their faith, family and business. It is a feel-good book that I would recommend as something pleasurable to read within the first few calm weeks of the semester.