Reviewed by Heather Haunert
“We believe in home, that it should restore us from today and ready us for tomorrow.” MAGNOLIA MANIFESTO
Joanna and Chip Gaines of Waco, Texas, are co-founders and co-owners of many successful businesses: Magnolia Homes, Magnolia Market, and Magnolia Realty. This dynamic duo has become synonymous with HGTV’s Fixer Upper, the “silos,” and of course, shiplap. Chip and Jo have skyrocketed to stardom and become America’s middle-aged darlings.
Along with the help of multiple New York Times bestselling author Mark Dagostino, their telling of the Magnolia Story has become a national bestseller, according to The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly. It appears from the outside looking in these two have the Midas touch, everything they touch turns to gold; however, their story shares a glimpse into the real-life ups and downs of this superstar couple. Jo and Chip spun their magic around the trials and tribulations of LIFE. They reminisced with story after story of their life together: from their chance meeting to the famous call from HGTV.
In the first part of the book, the couple describes their initial meeting and courtship through their perspectives. Chip striking up a conversation with Jo in her father’s Firestone store to asking her on a date and showing up an hour and a half late. The months after the first date when Chip finally called her back, all because of a bet. They weave their background stories through the pages sharing what feels like an intimate view of who they are and where they came from as children.
Jo and Chip describe their engagement, wedding, and honeymoon. The night they return home to Waco and the fiasco that ensues at three in the morning is such a crazy story and feels so true to what happens in life to “ordinary” people. The genuineness of the duo’s characters reflects in their retellings. They are humble, kind, and hard workers. The business ventures they started and the constant financial struggles of trying to make it day-to-day share a very different side of the Gaines family.
The end of the book comes full circle. It starts and finishes with what Joanna calls their “blessing in disguise” and their ticket to fame. The most incredible and fulfilling aspect of the book has nothing to do with Chip and Jo’s stories, struggles, or successes. It’s the perpetual faith and outlook on this thing called life. It is an inspiring, feel-good story worth the read.