The Magic of Ordinary

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Melford Johnson is an ordinary man. He has an ordinary job, lives in an ordinary southern Indiana suburb in the 1960’s with his ordinary wife, and his three ordinary daughters. But Melford Johnson is also “Daddy”, a man who can capture magic in the palm of his hand, sprinkle stardust over every occasion, and would pull down the moon for his three little girls just so they could bask in its glow.  


As seen through the adoring eyes of his daughter, Missi, Daddy will take the Johnson family—and you—on hilarious family adventures. But he also faces challenging situations with grace: delivering his own baby in a tiny bathroom in the middle of the night, winning over a suspicious mother-in-law, and discovering—at his own father’s funeral—that he has a black aunt and an entire black family he never knew.


Missi pedals her bicycle with its banana seat and racoon-tail streamer through an American landscape before cellphones, before social media, before cynicism. An America of swimming holes, wood-paneled station wagons, secret caves, Maw-maws and Nannys, and hard won treasures stored away in piggy banks. An America where the greatest treasure of all was a father’s love.   


Whether Mel Johnson is the daddy you had or the daddy you only wished you had, you’ll find yourself falling under his spell in a story that perfectly captures a time when innocence could still grow into optimism and love was all you needed to make magic and turn the ordinary into the extraordinary…


Praise for The Magic of Ordinary

“Melissa Gouty writes the magical story of all our lives in The Magic of Ordinary. If you grew up in the ’60s and '70s, this is an Our Town for our generation.”—Teresa Medeiros, New York Times bestselling author 

"While reading The Magic of Ordinary, your face will be stuck in a smile (even through some laughter and a tear or two). It’s a book that will calm your senses while the world around you is chaotic. A book that transports you to a simpler time.  Most of all, a book that will make you wish that there were more Melford Johnsons in the world, because surely the world would be a whole lot better. And your smile will still be there long after you finish it.' - Pam Johnson 

"With her two sisters, Gouty's childhood - which seems idyllic in many ways - is also a story that many of us who have had normal childhoods with responsible,, supportive families can relate to...

Gouty's writing is evocative, honest, and free of prescriptive advice. She invites readers to relive her childhood and succeeds in highlighting the universality of the human experience that transcends many of the artificial barriers that we often use to hide behind...

The legacy and proof of being raised by a good role model lies in this unexpectedly satisfying father-daughter story that can make you believe in magic."  - Ranjani Rao 

"This nostalgic look of family and life in a small Midwestern town had me turning page after page. It was a bright, sunshiny smile on the face of a dark, dreary day....


Her story is transparent and brutally honest. There is warmth to it. Even though our lives are vastly different, they are extremely similar...I found myself nodding in agreement as I read this love letter. It is nothing less than beautiful...

...a plethora of life and spiritual lessons woven throughout these exceptional stories...I highly recommend this charming memoir to everyone."  - ABBA Prayer Warrior Princess, Nyla Kay Wilkerson