The Magnolia Story (Chip & Joanna Gaines, © 2016, W Publishing Group)
When I saw that the fun-loving design duo of Chip and Joanne Gaines had written their life story, I quickly added the book to my must-read list. I do not watch a lot of TV, but when I do, one show I love to catch regularly is HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Something in me loves seeing an old house’s glory being brought back to life, and the way that Chip and Joanna do this while incorporating today’s modern conveniences is addictive to watch. I’m also sure that I am among many viewers who love the dynamic between the couple as they work together on these amazing projects. It may be best described as, “What crazy thing is Chip going to do next, and how is Joanna going to respond?” If you haven’t seen the episode where Chip swallows a whole cockroach in order to win a bet (no, I am not joking!), I encourage you to go find it online.
There is something so down-home and attractive about Chip and Joanna, their relationship, and their young family. That impression only grew for me through The Magnolia Story, in which the reader gets an inside glimpse of how the couple grew up, met, married, and went on to star in one of HGTV’s most beloved shows. Beautiful color photos of memorable moments complement the story. The book piggybacks on the TV show’s format, with Joanna sharing and Chip jumping in at regular intervals with his take on the events of their lives. Their humility and authenticity shine through in the story, which is so much more rich, diverse and hair-raising than what one sees on their popular TV show. The reader quickly realizes that Chip is not just a goof-off that happens to luck into success as he goes along, but is rather a bold risk-taker and catalyst that brings out the best in otherwise too-cautious Joanna. While Joanna’s eye-catching design drew the attention of an HGTV producer, it was Chip’s impulsive purchase of a dilapidated houseboat that actually secured them the pilot episode leading to their wildly successful show. It is the strong and differing yet powerfully complementing gifts the couple possesses that make them the creative force they are today.
The Magnolia Story is an easy, heartwarming read that made me respect Chip and Joanna and their accomplishments even more than before I did before. The book left me reminiscing about the things I love about my relationship with my own husband, and the crazy adventures we have been on together. As such, this book is a perfect read for Valentine’s week. One of my biggest takeaways from The Magnolia Story, however, is to not be so afraid to step out and try new things. As Chip and Joanna’s story shows, taking risks can lead to discovering gifts and having experiences that one would not otherwise realize.