Review: The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

29 Jun

After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father’s offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.

The Fixer Upper is the sort of chick lit that I enjoy.

The main character is an adult, in action (at least some of the time) as well as calendar age. She isn’t perfect, but is making her way through a situation as best she can. She gets involved in a romantic situation, but it isn’t her primary focus. In general, the book is character focused, with the plot giving the character an opportunity to grow.

As a rule, these books have a happy ending.

I’ve mentioned before I can go with almost any premise. A book just has to be consistent within the rules that are laid out in its world. The question I found myself contemplating was whether need for a happy ending is one of these rules.

I don’t think I’m going into spoiler territory by saying this book had a happy ending. I was enjoying it up until I got to that ending. I felt that the situation was stretched a little too far in search of that ending.

So the question is, should I just accept that as being part of the world of this book? Whatever is needed for a happy ending must happen, because that’s the way things are? I don’t know.

The book brings you into it’s world, and it’s very easy and pleasant to float along reading it.  It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s got a few moments where it’s a bit steamy.  My only issues with the book occurred while thinking about it after I put it down.  While reading it, I was happy to accept everything.

I liked Dempsey, the main character. She’d fallen into a bad situation due to her cluelessness, as opposed to the corruption she’s being accused of. She was a smart woman without the best judgement. As the book goes on, I discovered more about her character, good and bad.   Even better, as the book continues, she learns more about herself, and uses this knowledge to change some of the less positive aspects of her character.

The book explores many kinds of family: a flaky mom; a dad that  she really wants to imress, and who has a very different relationship with his new family than he ever had with her; an unknown uncle who left his house to some of the only family he had left, even though they were virtually unknown to each other; a remote cousin that resents her presence in town and her existence in general.  Some of these relationships grow and change, others don’t over the course of the book.

I liked the path all the subplots took up until the end.  I’m still deciding if an ending this happy is a requirement of the genre that I should simply accept.  Either way, I’m looking forward to reading more books by Mary Kay Andrews.

I read this book as part of a TLC book Tour. Thank you to Trish for inviting me to participate and arranging for me to receive a copy of The Fixer Upper to review.

For more information about Mary Kay Andrews, follow her on Twitter (@mkayandrews), friend her on Facebook, and check out her website.

TLC Book Tours

For other views of this book, check out the other tour stops:


Posted by on June 29, 2010 in books, reviews, tour


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2 responses to “Review: The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

  1. Lisa

    July 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    It does seem like books like this need to have a happy ending; it’s sort of expected. But authors need to make sure that things are working that way throughout so things don’t end up feeling forced.

  2. Heather J. @ TLC

    July 1, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Happy endings make me happy, but they don’t always “fit” with the book, so I understand your dilemma here. Thanks for being a part of the tour – I’m glad that you did enjoy this one for the most part.


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