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Cliff Notes: The Magnolia Story


Is there anything the Gaines can’t do?

✅ Renovate beautiful homes?

✅Make regional t-shirts look cool?

✅ Have adorable, witty banter?

✅Run an empire?

Last week Chip and Joanna added “write best selling memoir” to their list.  The book isn’t a John Grisham thriller or a Stephen King master class in writing, but The Magnolia Story is exactly what you would expect.  The book chronicles how Chip and Joanna became Chip and Joannaâ„¢ and all their charming stories along the way.  The book is only 182 pages long, but just in case you don’t have the time to read it, here is the cliff notes version of the book.

How They Met

Here’s how the story goes, Joanna was talked into introducing herself to “Hot John” at her dad’s tire shop. Hot John, Chip’s friend, was too intimidatingly cute and Joanna ended up striking up a conversation with the nearest person–her future husband.  Joanna said that talking to him was like speaking to an “old friend.” Their first conversation led to their first date.  A first date that Chip showed up to thirty minutes late.

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the format of the book.  The book is mostly written in Joanna’s voice with a little Chip commentary peppered throughout.  When the book switches voices, it switches fonts. The fonts don’t match the corresponding personalities. In the book, Chip’s font is sleek and modern.  Joanna’s font is more traditional and “Times New Roman-y.” The fonts need to be reversed.  It was bothersome and I can’t unsee it.

Their Flowerless Wedding:

There’s always that moment on Fixer Upper when “The Dramatic Something” is revealed.  Sometimes it’s a rabid raccoon.  Sometimes it’s a water heater that needs to be moved.  Joanna and Chip’s wedding is The Dramatic Something of the book.  The couple chose a historic mansion in Waco as their location for their wedding.  Joanna envisioned gardens “filled with roses.”  On the day of the wedding, the grounds keeper went through and pruned all the roses! But, just like the Act II break on the show, they found a simple solution.  The family purchased roses and placed them among the thorny bushes.  

Chip Gets Arrested:

Halfway through a chapter about Joanna’s first business, she casually drops a story about Chip’s arrest.  When their first son was a week old, Chip was arrested for not paying $2,500.00 in fines for dog leash laws.  He was only in jail for a few hours, but I had no idea that Chip was such a bad boy.  Chip’s arrest prompted Joanna to stash away a “rainy day fund” a lesson that we all should learn.  

How Their House Became a Home:

If the story of how Chip and Joanna acquired their farmhouse was an episode of Fixer Upper I wouldn’t believe it.  The farmhouse seemed to be ordained from above.  Their dream home at first seemed unattainable, but after a series of serendipitous events, their dream house was finally their home.  Chip and Joanna found their dream home when they visited for another business adventure.  At the time, the property wasn’t for sale and their offer didn’t match the owner’s “magic number.”  One day, the owner just decided that the offer was enough and decided to sell the real estate to Chip and Joanna.  It was an odd moment that could only be explained by interfering divine intervention.

Honestly, there was a lot more business/mortgage/financial discussion than I would have liked, but overall the book has heart.  

Just like the show.

Just like their witty banter.

Just like everything else in their empire.

Article written by Megan Suttles

I can't decide if I want to use this space to be witty or insightful. I guess it will be neither.