I really thought I was going to like The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines and Mark Dagostino. Despite the fact that I absolutely detest the whole genre of fake “reality” TV shows, it started out interesting. I lost interest in the book and ultimately never finished because it quickly started to feel like just another prop in their cute little story.

The writing was average. Sure, the facts in the book could have been true – it just didn’t feel like it was likely to have happened exactly like Dagostino (the People magazine writer and ghost writer that is the wordsmith behind “their” book) explains. Just like any other TV house flipping show, it felt like the star came in, setup the scene – even took a couple of swings with the sledgehammer for comic effect and then stepped back as the shut off the cameras and let someone else do the actual work. That is the feel I got from the book. If you like their story and find them “just the cutest darn thing” you will like the book.

If, like wrestling, you know it is all staged and like it anyway, you will like the book. If finding out that Hulk Hogan and Chip Gaines really didn’t escape from the clutches of disaster, but it was just show-producer-created drama, heightened suspense, stretched comedy and that the producers knew ahead of time exactly how it would end disturbs you… you will probably still love the book and just hate me.

I applaud what the Gaines’ have created for themselves, it is a veritable empire. More power to them. Or should I say the cash cow their producers have used them to create? Either way, this couple is set and for that they should be congratulated.

by Chris Doelle