review ☆ Making Piece

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When journalist Beth Howard's husband dies suddenly she packs up his RV and hits the American highways At every stop along the way whether filming a documentary or handing out free slices on the streets of Los Angeles Beth uses pie as a way to find purpose She eventually returns to her Iowa roots and creates the perfect sy A little over halfway through I just want to SHAKE Beth Howard I was hoping this wouldn't t

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Making Piece

Nergy between two great American icons; pie and the American Gothic House where she now lives and runs the Pitchfork Pie StandThis beautifully written memoir is shows how one courageous woman triumphs over tragedy and is ultimately about hope It's about the journey of healing and recovery of facing fears finding meaning in Making Piece A memoir of love loss and pie Authorjournalistpiebaker Beth Howard shares a to

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Life and moving forward with purpose and joy It's about the nourishment of the heart and soul that comes from the simple act of giving to others like baking a homemade pie and sharing it with someone whose pain is even greater than your own And it tells of the role of fate second chances and the strength found in communit I really loved this book and am so glad my friend Becky recommended it to me It's a memoir


10 thoughts on “Making Piece

  1. says:

    One of my favorite genres is the memoir and this memoir by Beth Howard was one that really spoke to me Journalist Beth Howard had been married to her husband Marcus for 7 12 years; and their relationship had always been difficult they loved each other intensely but their differences seemed to continue to push them apart Marcus was a German automotive executive and because of his job they spent a great deal of time apart this was one of the points of contention between them Finally the two decided that although they loved each other the constant turmoil in the marriage had worn them out; and they decided to separateAn interesting aspect of Beth's and Marcus's relationship is that their problems didn't seem to me to be about their personal differences as much as they seemed to be about their inability to communicate What Beth really wanted was for Marcus to spend time with her; but instead of telling him her feelings she pushed him away asking for a divorce but secretly hoping he would say no and would fight for their marriage They were at the end part of the divorce process just needing to sign the papers when tragedy struck Marcus died suddenly of a congenital heart problem Marcus's death left Beth filled with guilt over the words she hadn't been able to say to him and grief stricken This memoir is Beth's story not only of her grief but also of her healing and her journey back to finding peace and looking forward to her life once againI suppose this story isn't a new one After all we all deal with loss and grief at times in our lives and we all need to find a way to work through it and find a way to look forward to the rest of our lives all the while accepting the loss we have suffered; accepting that we are forever changed somehow There were a couple of things which made Beth's story uniue in my view First of all Beth's self awareness and understanding of her own feelings were very impressive to me It was obvious that she had done a great deal of very difficult soul searching ; and had to face some very difficult truths about herself And in this world where few people seem to engage in introspective thinking I find that a very rare and admirable uality The second thing that stood out that I could really identify with was the way that Beth found her way back to peace It was something that she had always loved to do and on the surface it wouldn't seem to be an activity that would bring a person peace of mind it was her love of baking pies She wrote With each push of the rolling pin and each pie that came browned and bubbling out of the oven my soul was soothed and my heart mended a little This made perfect sense to me on a very instinctive level I am a baker also I have loved to bake my entire life So when MsHoward talked about how it felt to take a few simple ingredients and using just your own two hands form those ingredients into a light and flaky crust which you fill with apples sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar summer blueberries or even the juiciest peaches; and how that aroma would fill the air and your home Well that was something I could not only understand; but something I have found brings calm to my own mind when it has felt cluttered or when my life has felt chaotic Perhaps it's a form of meditation or maybe you can call it a 'prayer' whatever you wish to call it it really DOES workMs Howard decided to get into an RV that she and Marcus owned and she began a journey across the country She baked pies and distributed slices to anyone who wished to have one and on National Pie Day she stopped to teach anyone who was interested how to create their own pies What she discovered was that the act of creating those scrumptious offerings and sharing them with others soothed her and 'fed' HER soul I believe that what she found was that caring for others by giving them nourishment was probably one of the most elemental things a person can do Providing nourishment to others can be very healing both emotionally and spirituallyMs Howard finally ended up back in her birthplace in rural Southeastern Iowa in the town of Eldon It seemed somehow fitting that she end her period of grieving and healing back in the place where her life began Upon her arrival she discovered that there was a house for rent that seemed perfect for her This was no ordinary houseIn fact it is a well known tourist attraction the American Gothic House which was made famous in the iconic painting by artist Grant Wood it's the painting of the couple in front of the farmhouse holding a pitchfork Ms Howard decides this is the perfect place for her to be there was a peacefulness in Iowa that she needed and it provided a place for her to plan and look forward to what would come next in her life She ended up opening a pie stand where she sells pies to tourists visiting the old house calling it appropriately the Pitchfork Pie Stand As of the writing of this memoir she is still making her home in IowaI found Ms Howard's memoir to be especially moving and her incredible ability to be honest with herself about her feelings was nothing short of inspirational I found a bit of myself in her story and reading her elouent words was an affirmation for me about who I am and what motivates me


  2. says:

    A little over halfway through I just want to SHAKE Beth Howard I was hoping this wouldn't turn out to be another memoir by a spoiled middle aged lady but that's exactly what it is Usually food memoirs are written by people who are a little grounded and humble because people who work with food don't typically make a lot of money they work with their hands and their building blocks are very basic For Howard though baking is of a cheap form of therapy And for the first 23 of the book it's not really workingAnother thing that I hate is that every time Howard mentions specific things she misses about her deceased husband sex is either the first second or only thing Then she usually paints him in a negative light immediately after that I'm no psychologist but it seems to me like a lot of her grief came from resentment that they were hours from a divorce when he died but now she wouldn't be able to move on from him So all the times she repeats how much she misses him and how she didn't REALLY want a divorce I feel like it's a little dishonestAnd meanwhile while she's moping around the country wailing and gnashing her teeth and relying on some seriously amazing friends to feed her house her and continually talk her off the ledge we find out that THIS WHOLE TIME her brother has been fighting cancer and on the verge of death himself But she doesn't even MENTION it until 170 pages in and even then it's just an anecdote that serves as a way for her to explain another emotional breakthrough that she had


  3. says:

    I have two reactions to this book On the one hand I love that Beth found solace in her grief through baking which I also find to be therapeutic I love that she encourages the human connection that occurs around good food in this case pie oh my did I crave apple pie as I read this On the other hand I don't agree except on a surface level that pie can change the world I wish she had encountered God in a very real way on the Great Pie Journey I am hopeful she still will He certainly uses the work of our hands pie included to bless and change the world Beth if you are ever in my town let's meet for pie and conversation


  4. says:

    This writer is a very articulate over analytical self indulgent widow examining the sudden loss of her husband from whom she was soon to be divorced Her use of figurative language is amazing and at times very artistic but page after page of her detailed weeping and wailing grew tiresome I mean all right already I got it in the first 100 or so pages that her eyes suffered from swelling due to the abundant tears and she would collapse on the floor or onto a sofa in the fetal position but this went on from beginning to end even when she shopped at an Aldi store in her home state of Iowa for heaven sakes Sorrow is great and real but did we have to go over and over all the crying events? The thesis that the world needs pie is trite rediculous and unconvincing At times however she had a wonderful grasp of humor and hyperbole and that was fun The fact that her journey through life in her 50 years or so has taken her all over this country and Europe as she moved around and it convinces me that this return to her home state of Iowa to reside in the famous American Gothic house of the Grant Wood painting will only result in another impulsive move somewhere else where she will indulge her descriptions of grief I mean did we have to have the details of her two night stand during her widowhood when she was attending a pie baking contest where she was supposed to be a judge? What was the purpose of that? OK Beth you've said enough your husband died suddenly but this was not the first time the two of you were planning to divorce; you baked pies all your life now see what else you can write about but remember the best writing is performed with restraint and less sentimentality


  5. says:

    Making Piece A memoir of love loss and pie Authorjournalistpiebaker Beth Howard shares a touching story of love lost surviving grief after her husband's death and the risks she took to continue living a life she was at first not certain she wanted to live By taking a fork in the road taking risks and putting her faith in community friendship and pie she survived and shares her journey in this book Now living in the American Gothic House in EldonIowa and running the Pitchfork Pie Stand every summer's day this writer is a joy to read even when the story is painfulWith a network of long time friends friends she just met and friends about to be Ms Howard traverses the country talking about eating judging and making piesFrom driving The Beast the RV she told Marcos her husband that she would never drive to being a self promoted judge of pies at the Iowa State Fair to handing out free pieces of pie at Venice Beach on National Pie Day this book conveys the warmth of fresh apple pie without the caloriesThere are recipes if you are inspired to try a bit of pie therapy


  6. says:

    I love pie LOVE pie I can also relate to baking through life's challengesThat being said I could not get into this book I could not relate to the author at all Opening the book with her complaints about her marriage did not appeal her to me I was sad that her husband died but her ways of dealing with the problems of her marriage asking for a divorce even though it was the last thing she wanted just to get his attention were immature I just couldn't connect with this woman Call me old fashioned but a marriage is about the couple not the individuals Seemed like they both got married for the wrong reasons


  7. says:

    I'm 113 pages in and don't think I'll be able to finish this one Too bad it had such promise But besides the author telling you about how much she loved her husband even though they were on the verge of divorce and then he died she's all about telling you how she used to work on a hit TV show How she didn't go to her prom because she'd already lost her virginity and wanted to go on a camping trip instead How she used to bake pies for celebrities in Malibu All the bragging is very annoying and the bad pie metaphors sprinkled throughout made me feel she was trying too hard The writing is serviceable but nothing graceful or thought provoking Back to the library it goes


  8. says:

    I really loved this book and am so glad my friend Becky recommended it to me It's a memoir written by a women who loses her husband very suddenly at a young age To overcome her grief she turns to her love of pie and crust by crust comes through the grieving process happier healthier and hopeful My favorite line was 'you are like a trapeze artist You have to let go of one swing in order to grab the next one There is that moment of being airborne in between when you are holding on to nothing and trusting that the other swing will come toward you That 'in between' is where you are now grasping for air'


  9. says:

    people will pick up this book and gain strength from Beth's survival after the loss of her husband Other's will pick up this book and identify with the healing power of food I picked up this book that I didn't even know was set partially in Iowa and got a piece of home when I needed it the most I haven't been home since Thanksgiving and my homesickness has reached an all new level To paraphrase the author talks about crossing the Missouri river into Council Bluffs and seeing the sign that says Iowa A Place to Grow and how it just felt right I know that feeling so very well I have had that same feeling every trip home for the last two plus yearsI really enjoyed Making Piece I am sure that I enjoyed it because of the Iowa connection than I did anything elsenot really a pie girl unless it is made of chocoolate but I enjoyed watching Beth make it through that critical year She went from being the big city girl back to that small town Iowa girl with such ease that it almost makes me long to do the same I think that Making Piece has a little something for everyone including recipes at the back of the book


  10. says:

    When our library’s Debbie Henderson recommends a book I read it We were both intrigued as history buffs and bakers to learn that Ms Howard lives in a historic house in Iowa portrayed in that famous painting called American Gothic by Grant Wood It is in this house a tourist attraction that she bakes pies for her Pitchfork Pie stand writes her blog and has come to terms with the devastating sudden loss of her husbandWhile I wanted a ‘fun’ read this summer I found her story helpful for anyone who experiences life in the fast lane since she demonstrates that having the 6 figure income in a ‘dot com’ career is not necessarily everything or even healthy Many will be able to relate to her journey from grief to healing as well Best of all award winning pie recipes are included Written thoughtfully with funny and sad scenes interspersed this memoir the author reminds us is similar to the pie that she loves to make it can be sweet bitter messy but in the end everything turns out alright by Catherine Addé Friend of the Sierra Madre Library Former Chair Board of Trustees


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