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The Fixer Upper

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  18,631 ratings  ·  1,498 reviews

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

After a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. She reluctantly accepts to refurbish Birdsong, the old family place in Guthrie, Georgia.

But, oh, is Dempsey in

Kindle Edition, 436 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,631 ratings  ·  1,498 reviews

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Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a few things I don't like about this book. I find it a little annoying when authors throw out brand names excessively. Describing the watches two people are wearing and telling me that her Panerai trumped his Rolex...well it's just a little silly. A bunch of other brands are mentioned which could have been paid product placement.
The other thing which left me feeling somewhere between "blah" and "meh", was the police procedures described. I'd love to know where that old chestnut of a p
Carolyn Hill
This is light (to the point of air-heady) southern chick-lit. From its popularity at my local library (it was always on reserve and there was a long wait), you'd think this must be a winner. I've enjoyed other efforts by Mary Kay Andrews, and I was drawn to the fixer upper part of the story. (Anyone who knows me can attest that I'm a house person.) While her descriptions of renovating and decorating show that M.K.A. is really into it (check out her blog for pics of her adorable re-done beach hou ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
Where to begin?

This book is cute. Young girl, caught in a scandal, moves to a small town to fix up an old house and of course she has lots of "life" moments and finds romance along the way. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a light, summer romance read. And it is...there are just some parts of this book that really bugged me.

First of all, I understand books like this aren't really meant to be realistic, but Andrews' lack of reality in this book gets a little extreme. There were just parts here
I'd really give this a 1.5 star rating but because Ella Kate was a cantankerous, old bitch who made me laugh, I'll swing up to 2.

So this story is about a vapid, young lawyer who is framed for bribery and mishandling taxpayer money...I guess...and winds up in a two-stoplight town in the south, fixing a broken-down house that was just left to her egomaniacal father in a will. She falls in love with a jerk who pretends to not be a jerk but she also sort of has the hots for the jerk's dad. There's a
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's another scandalous news day in Washington, D.C. with prominent public relations firm owner, Alex Hodder, being investigated for bribing Congressman Anthony Licata. Unfortunately, his young lobbyist, Dempsey, is caught in the crossfire with him. Vulnerable and naive she might have been but that changes quickly as she realizes what a ninny she was to believe her ever-so-sleazy boss. After having lost her job and her self respect, and fearing that no one will hire her, she visits her father in ...more
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're working on a fixer-upper (like my husband and I), and looking for some literary respite...skip this. Dempsey Killebrew loses her DC lobbying job, and ends up trying to fix up her family's crumbling antebellum mansion in Georgia. She miraculously develops super-renovating abilities (don't get me started on how fast she learns and works--it defies the laws of time and space), and finds a handyman who works at about 1/10th the going rate and ten times as fast as the average contractor.

Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read some of the comments by others that have read this book and wow! I enjoyed this book. It's not some heavy drama where the reader constantly has to think. It's an enjoyable book about a clueless woman who has to come to terms with her life after she gets dealt a huge blow. Her parents really did not care for her when she was a child. Her father took her away from her mother and then plopped her in a boarding school when he didn't feel like parenting anymore. She puts herself through colleg ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I made myself finish this book, but now I'm wondering why. Complete waste of time. Stupid characters, stupid plot. The only redeeming line in the book was this:

"New paint was about hope. It was about believing that underneath the dirt and the crud and the hurt, it was possible to find something solid and substantial. Something worth saving. And when you found something good, wasn't it right to try and fix it?"

I'm convinced that the author didn't even write that line because it was so out of pla
Just - The romance reader
I am a huge Mary Kay Andrews fan, and know that I am not alone. As a southern woman, I just adore the picture the paints of quaint southern charm. And she never fails to create a main character that is a strong, yet sweet and gentile southern belle. I wish I was a Mary Kay Andrews character!

The moment I read about the upcoming release of The Fixer Upper, I rushed to reserve my copy, and couldn't wait to start reading. I finished the book in near record time for me, it was that good. I loved that
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Twenty-eight year old Dempsey Killebrew has just learned a hard lesson: the real reason people in power have assistants. One minute, Killebrew is a rising PR associate, Georgetown JD in hand, the next, she finds herself at the wrong end of a political scandal involving her PR firm and her slick, backstabbing boss. Looking for career advice, she looks to her dad who, in turn, offers her a less than stellar “opportunity” to flip a family property in Guthrie, GA. Dempsey reluctantly packs her high- ...more
Karen Bradley
Jun 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Knew it was total beach reading and boy, was it ever. Nothing new here, but Dempsey sure picked up house renovation in a hurry when she wore her Carrharts.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Just no.

I honestly couldn’t finish this book. The side characters were valid as was the main character. I had no emotional connection and couldn’t get past how everyone was only surface deep
“This house here is a beauty. One of a kind. You just need to shine her up a little, show her some love.”

Meet Dempsey Killebrew. A young woman living in D.C. as a lobbyist that has just been fired by her high-powered public relations firm after they were caught in a political scandal.

She's a young woman, who has just lost everything she's ever known so far in life and is now unemployed. She seeks the help of her father, Mitch, whom I have to say I dislike. He basically is married to a much youn
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-fun
It was a imperfect, formulaic and escapist. The writing wasn't super quality, but it was more than competent. I enjoyed it.
Also, I recently read Nora Robert's "Tribute", and it was surprising how similar these two books were, while also being very different. Perhaps it's like the difference between peanut butter and oatmeal cookies: they are both sweets, meant for dessert not nutrition, though they have some nutritional value (protein vs fiber), and you can enjoy them in a convenient way althoug
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dempsey Killebrew is a junior lobbyist in Washington D.C. whose boss has taken her under his wing and made her his prodigy, so she thinks, until he is charged with bribing a senator and uses Dempsey as the fall guy. She loses her job and her name and picture is spread all over the news as the girl who hired prostitutes for the senator. Dempsey's unlikable father has just inherited his family home in small town Georgia and, not having much choice, Dempsey packs up and heads to Georgia to "flip" t ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel I've read by Mary Kay Andrews. I'm a Georgia girl born and bred, and I kept seeing her books in the bookstore touting Ms. Andrews as a local writer. I finally picked up the novel Fixer Upper. The book intrigued me since my husband and I are in the process of buying a house. This book has it all- political scandals, cover-ups, a love story, and my favorite part - a depiction of the south that is not stereotypical, but is honest and endearing. The main character in Fixer Up ...more
Linda C
Dempsey Killebrew loses her lobbyist job and her reputation when her boss is caught in a political scandal and tries to throw the blame on her. She heads to Florida to visit her father and his young family. He is not thrilled and sends her off to Guthrie, GA to oversee flipping a house he inherited. He offers to split any profits with her when it's sold. The house is a pink, crumbling disaster with an elderly relation and her dog illegally squatting in the house. The town boasts 2200 people and ...more
Honestly, this book wasn't long on plot, drama, suspense, romance, intrigue, or really anything that normally makes for an engaging good read. Yet, strangely, I really still enjoyed this book. I like the author's writing style. I also really enjoy fixing on my older fixer-upper of a house, so I could relate to the main character. However, I have been working on my old home for 15 years and have not become the "professional" remodeler that Andrews makes Dempsey out to be. Also, where can I hire t ...more
Carley Tall
Oct 10, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've read Mary Kay Andrews before and thought her stuff was decent. This one is just as predictable as the others and has its fair share of lengthy, unnecessary descriptions. And, I really got annoyed at the basic, typical plot of the book...Oil company rep/lobbyist bribes Republican official to vote their way on a bill through bribery and prostitutes. Big evil Oil company, Corrupt Republicans...a tired, unappreciated story.

Oh, and there's a sex scene.

I wouldn't recommend this one.
Vannetta Chapman
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Mary Kay Andrews book. I liked it mainly because it was a "fixer upper" story. Those are always so fun. Here's a great quote from the book. "New paint was about hope. It was about believing that underneath the dirt and the crud and the hurt, it was possible to find something solid and substantial. Something worth saving."

Isn't that nice?
Note: A few instances of language and adult scenes, though they are brief and well handled.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, dnf
I really tried with this one, but there were things happening that were pissing me off. The fact that the woman had no friggin backbone to tell an old lady to get the hell outta her house was really annoying. I think I would have gotten into it with the renovating of the house, if that part hadn't ruined it for me. I could only make it to disc 3 and had to just quit.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, hoopla
This book was enjoyable, but I absolutely hated the miserable bitchy old hag that sometimes dominated the story. I found myself often shouting STFU whenever she appeared. So annoying, and unlike the protagonist, I felt zero affection for her.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chik, audio
really its 1.25 stars - indifferent. really? a lobbyist and unrealistic interior decorator heroine that beats a belt-line scandal and charms southern men. yeah - couldn't really relate. it was sub-ok.
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on audiotape and even though the voices really annoyed me at first, I got really into the story! This is my first Mary Kay Andrews book and now I really want to read more! :)
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All my reviews can be found at:
Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) is a ‘go to’ author of mine; her books are always so much fun and The Fixer Upper is another of those! She really captured the genuine small town feeling for me with Fixer Upper. I could picture everything she wrote as I listened to the audiobook. Everything was very descriptive and even the descriptions of Birdsong (the house) are well written.

I felt for Dempsey in her situation that she goes th
Susannah Carleton
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book about a young woman, trained as an attorney but working as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., whose boss is in deep trouble, who is fired on the same day the boss’s troubles are outed by reporters. Her name is blackened by association, so when her father offers her a “job,” she’s not in a position to refuse, even though it’s something she’s never done.

He has inherited his family’s home in a small town in Georgia, and he wants her to get it ready to sell. He hasn’t seen the place in about
Donna Craig
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this character-driven story of a young woman unwittingly caught up in a scandal. She retreats to a small town and focuses on renovating an old house, until the FBI tracks her down...
The beginning was a little slow for me, but about 50 pages in it clicked. The characters are truly characters, and I loved the house, which was kinda a character in its own right.
Lisa  Keegan
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I laughed when I read the reviews. A perfect light and beachy read.
Kathy K.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a 2nd time read for me. Originally read it in 2009 and remember liking it.
I liked the characters and the plot of the story. However the book goes so in depth about the house and what needs to be done with it that I found it boring. I love HGTV but if I want that much detail on something other than the characters I'll just watch a show.
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Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002.

Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to wri