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Fixer Upper

by Mary Kay Andrews
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publishing date: 23/06/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780060837389
  • ISBN: 0060837381


Book Description

The delightful New York Times bestselling author returns with a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house . . . and her life.

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.

But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. "Bird Droppings" would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There's also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey's distant relations, who has claimed squatter's rights and isn't moving out. Ever.

Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey's business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey's doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her.

All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected--back home again.

Mary Kay Andrews's Top Fives

We caught up with Mary Kay Andrews, the prolific author of The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish and other bestselling Southern-fried romances, and learned about a few of her favorite things--from books to musicals to interior decorating tips (a passion of hers which plays a prominent role in her new book).

Top Five Books

  1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  2. Void Moon by Michael Connelly
  3. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
  4. Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie
  5. Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
Top Five Movies/DVDs
  1. Sabrina (the original with Audrey Hepburn)
  2. Charade (again, the original with Audrey Hepburn)
  3. When Harry Met Sally
  4. Auntie Mame (not the gawdawful musical)
  5. The Quiet Man
Top Five Movie Musicals
  1. Camelot
  2. Funny Girl
  3. South Pacific
  4. My Fair Lady
  5. West Side Story
Top Five Decorating Books
  1. Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell
  2. A House in the South by Frances Schultz and Paula Wallace
  3. Mary Emmerling's Beach Cottages by Mary Emmerling
  4. Mary Emmerling's American Country Cottages by Mary Emmerling
  5. An Affair with a House by Bunny Williams
Top Five Renovating Tips
  1. An old house needs old doors, hardware and fixtures. Nothing says “new and cheap” faster than a flimsy hollow-core door and bright gold repro brass hardware. Look for solid wood doors and wood frame windows at salvage yards and antique markets. And don’t forget to check the “building materials” category on Craigslist. I got all the doors for my beach house off Craigslist--for $5 apiece. Vintage hardware can frequently be found at flea markets, or check online sources like eBay.
  2. Vintage light fixtures give a great look--but be sure you factor in the cost of re-wiring them, and finding good-looking shades. Nothing gives a lamp that “granny” look faster than a dingy yellow shade.
  3. Before you invest in antique cast-iron claw-foot tubs or sinks, make sure they have proper fittings. Measure drains and faucet spreads and make sure you can find new ones that will fit and function properly. Antique toilets are generally a bad idea--most local codes require low-flow toilets for water conservation.
  4. Before re-wiring a house, put together a furniture floor plan. You don’t want a heat register under the living room sofa, but you will want outlets on either side of the bed for reading lamps, and for any area that might be used as an office you’ll want plenty of grounded plugs. And how about that flat-screen television your husband wants? Plan now for cable locations.
  5. Be flexible. A great fireplace surround could become a headboard, as could an old paneled door--turned sideways. And that leaded glass window that had to be removed in the remodel? Why not fit it with mirrors and a hinge and make it into a bathroom medicine cabinet?
Top Five Best Junking Finds
  1. Pair of barrel-back armchairs--$30 at an estate sale. They were covered in gold embossed vinyl when I found ‘em. But with the legs stained ebony, and a gorgeous blue Ralph Lauren fabric reupholstery, they’re perfect by my fireplace.
  2. Set of eight antique Wedgewood black and cream transferware plates--$30 at an estate sale. The seller’s mother used some of them for cat dishes, others as an ashtray!
  3. Vintage landscape oil painting, Tuscany maybe? Or Provence? Who cares! Bought at a “divorce sale”--the ex-husband sold this beautiful painting for $50 because it had belonged to his ex-wife. I spent a small fortune framing it, but it’s the basis for a collection of treasured landscape paintings.
  4. Wicker settee, Salvation Army find for $25. I’d walked to the store, and had to hoof it back home in a hurry for money and my car.
  5. Faux alligator train case--found at a yard sale. When I asked the seller if she’d do better on the price, she replied that she’d give it to me for free--if I could figure out how to open it. Since it had a combination lock like the one on my high school graduation luggage, I twirled the dial to 0-0-0--because I never figured out how to change mine--and sure enough, the lock popped open. Score!

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  • Kept Me Laughing
    From Amazon

    Mary Kay Andrews is back with another hysterical, laugh-out-loud story of a Southern gal doing things her own way and finding love in the process. Andrew's seventh novel, The Fixer Upper, a perfect beach read has just been released in paperback! The story of Dempsey Jo Killebrew, a down on her luck Washington, D.C. public relations specialist will capture readers' interest from the beginning. When her boss is caught up in a major scandal, and Dempsey's career falls apart, she agrees to take on the project of renovating and "flipping" Birdsong, the neglected family house her father has recently inherited. When Birdsong turns out to be Bird Droppings, Dempsey rolls up her sleeves and begins removing the duct tape holding the place together as she establishes herself as a resident of Guthrie, Georgia. With help from the smooth-talking local Realtor, and the cute lawyer/newspaper editor, Dempsey stays one step ahead of the FBI agents investigating her former boss, and turns Birdsong into an aria. I have enjoyed all of Mary Kay Andrews novels, and this was no exception. Dempsey is a very realistic heroine, trying to do what's right in the face of opposition, and creating a life for herself out of nothing, with little familial support. Although determined, Dempsey is not overly spunky or confident, and has her mess ups and confusions just like all of us. If you haven't tried one of Andrew's fun Southern comedies, I strongly suggest you go out and grab The Fixer Upper for your vacation!

  • Fantastic summer read!
    From Amazon

    I loved this book! But I'm a real Mark Kay Andrews fan. I can think of nothing but praise. I love Andrews' writing style, and character development. Plus, she really seems to capture true Southern charm. A real winner for this Southern gal!

  • Another winner
    From Amazon

    I've enjoyed every book Mary Kay Andrews has written, and THE FIXER UPPER ranks high on the list. This is a witty and exceptionally entertaining book filled with quirky Southern characters, dysfunctional families, and the surprising ups and downs and that inevitably accompany home renovation. There's even the additional spice of romance and a political scandal. One of the things I particularly loved was how the home renovation mirrored Dempsey's very own personal renovation - the more she worked on the house, the more her own underlying strengths came to light and took shape. Mary Kay Andrews is a master of her craft.

  • Lovely and Light
    From Amazon

    This is a fun summer read, Mary Kate Andrews characters are easy to relate to. It's a lovely, light read that will make you smile.

  • Really wanted to like it....
    From Amazon

    Just finished listening to the book (my first for this author), and I was pretty disappointed. The timing and other inconsistencies were pretty bad -- a dog who had stomach surgery was supposed to stay at the vet a few days, then was released the next day (and that night shared a Big Mac with T?). The author made a point of mentioning (several times) that the county was dry, but then Dempsey was able to buy a bottle of Chardonnay at one of the town's grocery stores. The main and supporting characters just seemed flat and cliched, and the book was way too long for what it accomplished. And the situation with the FBI was completely unbelievable. The book itself just seemed flat. I once had someone say that it takes longer to write 1-2 pages than it does 10-15, and it just seemed that the author could have taken some more time to boil the story down. I'm just really glad it was a library loan versus dollars out of my pocket.

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