Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review - The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s the story of Dempsey Killebrew, a young woman caught up unwittingly in a political scandal. At the heart of the scandal is her boss, a man she all but idolizes and yes, has a crush on. Because she’s the fall guy, even though she doesn’t realize it, and needs to leave her home in DC for a bit, she first heads to her father’s home in Miami, then on to Guthrie, GA to fix up the house her father has just inherited from his uncle.

What she finds in Georgia is a squatter in the house, Ella Kate, who took care of the uncle and just never left, a house in need of major repair, and people who actually support her. It turns out that people to support her is what she needs. While she had friends in DC, her parents, in my opinion, are all but worthless. Her father is busy being a good dad to his second family while at the same time still tromping all over Dempsey and not being a father to her. He might be trying to make up for his shortcomings with Dempsey while raising her by being the textbook dad to his twin four year old boys, but he could be that dad to her now. Her mother, a hippy, isn’t much better and at one point goes all the way to Georgia because she’s sure Dempsey can’t handle this on her own.

In the end Dempsey does handle it on her own - the mess with the political scandal and the house and in the process finds a boyfriend and a town full of people that have faith in her.

Dempsey is naive, but she’s also young. She didn’t want to believe her boss was hanging her out to dry and that hurt her in the beginning. Having said that, the FBI agents just drove me bonkers in the beginning. I’ve never had to deal with the FBI in that capacity and I’d hope they don’t harass people that way, but maybe they do. In the end, they redeemed themselves somewhat. I wasn’t a big fan of Ella Kate’s, but, I think in the end she had her place. I really liked the Berryhill’s, both father and son. Loved the characters of Bobby Livesey and Jimmy Maynard. Basically, I liked all of Guthrie’s residents.

In a way it was sad to see Dempsey realize that her boss, a man she looked up to, was a bad guy. You’d think she’d know better, but she’s young and he played on her crush on him and then set her up. In the end though she got riled and turned the tables on him.

My only complaint is it seemed to end abruptly. You sorta know she’s in the clear, you sorta know who she’s with and that she’ll get married, you sorta know she’ll keep Birdsong and stay in Guthrie. But, it’s all sorta and not really wrapped up. Now, life is rarely wrapped up, but it just seemed to end. Maybe we’ll see more of Dempsey and the town of Guthrie, GA. I hope so.

This is one of my favorites by Mary Kay Andrews and I look forward to reading other books by her.

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