Thursday, June 26, 2008

Melody Carlson's A Mile in My Flip-Flops ~ Reviewed

A Mile in My Flip-Flops
By Melody Carlson
Published By: Water Brook Press
Page 331

Back Cover:

Seeking solace from a broken heart, Gretchen Hanover traded her wedding plans for home improvement shows and ice cream, but she knows she can’t live on Ben and Jerry’s forever. She also knows that her enthusiastic Lab puppy has outgrown her tiny apartment.

The perfect patch for Gretchen’s dilapidated plans? She’ll become a first-time house-flipper. As ideas go, it’s daring and genius. She’ll take out a short-term loan, buy a fixer-upper, renovate it, resell it, and use the profit for an adorable house of her own.

But Gretchen’s plans to flip quickly flop when the house turns out to be in worse shape than she expected. She is relying on her retired –father, but he wants to draw in his carpenter friend Noah Campbell. And although Noah is handy with tools, Gretchen isn’t so sure about the baggage he brings with him.

A whimsical look at color swatches, mismatched curtain rods, and the building of relationships, A Mile in My Flip-Flops reminds readers that it takes faith to renovate the heart, as well as the home.


This story drew me in quickly as I couldn't stop laughing as I read. This story was so true to life. I, too, was the daughter of a building contractor and my dad was one of the original "House-Flippers" long before it was popular. This is a humorous and touching story about a determined and eager "house-flipper" newbie named Gretchen, who is tired of sitting on the couch watching this popular HGTV show. She wants action. A "House-Flipper" is someone who buys dilapidated houses in good neighborhoods, fixes them up and hopefully sells them for a profit. Gretchen has been a faithful viewer for 18 months now and knows she has an advantage most of these contestants don't have – her father is a contractor. She has watched him build houses for years. She is confident and ready to tackle the challenge of flipping a house herself – she's watched the shows and her dad, what more was there?

Gretchen soon learns they don't show every possible scenario on "House-Flippers". And, just because she has watched her dad do construction all of her life, it's completely different when the hammer is in your own hand and you have to hit the nail on the head. The show and her dad made this look a lot easier than it is. Unlike Gretchen, who is confident about going to Home Depot or Lowes and buying construction supplies, I hated this task when I was a kid. I never could find what my dad was looking for even though I had him write it down on a piece of paper and had help from the workers in the store. Gretchen moves through the store with the greatest of ease and always finds what she is looking for. How does she do that?

Gretchen and her dad were going to renovate this house in six weeks. Wow!! I would have loved it if the remodeling projects my dad did took as little as six weeks! He did all the work himself after putting in a full day on his own jobs. He also worked weekends fixing up the house. I remember the time when he remodeled our kitchen. We were without kitchen cabinets, the floor was all torn up and we had no working stove or sink. We washed our dishes in the bath tub and got really good at cooking on a Coleman camping stove. My mother was very creative and patient most of the time during that renovation. Remodeling is stressful on family relationships - I know, I've lived it firsthand. Gretchen gleaned this from watching her TV show. She didn't want to put stress and strain on her relationship with her dad during this house flip. She wanted them to have fun.

As a friend reminds Gretchen in the middle of this project, "Life doesn't always meet our expectations." How true that is. Gretchen learns many things about herself and life while remodeling this house. As Gretchen and her dad start to clean up this unbelievably horrible, smelly house, and start to make changes for the good, they uncover many surprises and challenges.

Don't judge a book by its cover – especially this one. I would have never suspected that this book was about "house-flipping" from the outside. But trust me when I say that you will totally enjoy the inside of this book. And, you may learn a thing or two about relationships, but there is definitely something to learn about "house-flipping". I love Melody Carlson's writing, the topic of this story and this book in general.

Reviewed: Nora St. Laurent

Bonus Review:

I loved A Mile in My Flip-Flops. Gretchen is a bumbling house flipper whose efforts are hilarious, but somehow in the end, she manages to pull it off, and renovates not only her house but her life. Delicious characters and an unforgettable story make a great read. If you enjoy watching HGTV, you'll love A Mile in My Flip-Flops. I give it a high recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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