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Making Piece: a Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie
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Making Piece: a Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  723 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
"You will find my story is a lot like pie, a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It's bitter. It's messy. It's got some sweetness, too. Sometimes the ingredients get added in the wrong order, but it has substance, it will warm your insides, and even though it isn't perfect, it still turns out okay in the end."

When journalist Beth M. Howard's young husband dies suddenly, she packs up t
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Harlequin (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jake Rideout
Jun 28, 2012 Jake Rideout rated it it was ok
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 more 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 more of a cheap form of therapy. And for the first 2/3 of t ...more
May 16, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it
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 certa ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Elaine rated it liked it
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, ...more
Nov 04, 2013 Darlene rated it it was amazing
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 1/2 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 ...more
Peggy L
Feb 02, 2013 Peggy L rated it it was amazing
"Making Piece A memoir of love, loss and pie"
Author/journalist/piebaker 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 Eldon,Iowa and running the Pitchfork Pie St
Aug 07, 2012 Kathy rated it it was ok
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 ann ...more
Jun 19, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
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 more 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
Apr 15, 2012 Annmarie rated it really liked it
Poignant + pie + Portland setting in part - the book hit the trifecta for me. I quite enjoyed it, even though I don't usually read memoirs and I don't really bake. I do however love pie and appreciate good writing. The author's German husband dies unexpectedly & relatively young while they are in the process of a divorce - but they still love each other, and it rocks her world. The book is basically a memoir about how she gets over her grief with the help of good friends and a journey in an ...more
Catherine Adde
Sep 02, 2012 Catherine Adde rated it really liked it
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 husband.
While I wanted a ‘fun’ read this summ
Mar 21, 2012 Charlotte rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook

Some 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 r
Sep 17, 2012 Cara rated it it was ok
This memoir was written by a native Iowan who lived on the west coast and in Euorpe before finding her way back to her home state, in need of solace after her husband's death. She settles in the American Gothic House made famous by Grant Wood's painting, just up the hill from my grandmother's house. She's still renting the house as we speak... I've been going to Eldon (population 892) my entire life, and I got a kick out of the way Beth portrayed the town, but the book overall is too much about ...more
Peggy Hess Greenawalt
Jan 08, 2014 Peggy Hess Greenawalt rated it really liked it
This well written book made me smile, even laugh at times, but also made me sad and reflect on my losses. I loved all the pie baking, and it inspired me to bake a pie or at least eat a piece! :) I did tire of her crying, but I reminded myself that I cried a lot for months after my mother died, and that grief is very personal and different for everyone. I really want to use this with my church book group, so could have used a little less language etc., but overall, I think the book was one that c ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Jennie rated it it was ok
I love pie. LOVE pie. I can also relate to baking through life's challenges.

That 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 ol
Jun 22, 2012 Lula rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
While I generally liked this book, it is about pie after all, it felt a little to "made for tv" for me. I am realizing that this is about the third blog-turned-memoir book that I have read and what has bothered me in all of them is the lack of beautiful writing. There are moments that shine, but there are also parts that seem trite or confusing. I think I would have like it more if I could identify with more of the grief aspects, though I am thankful that I could not. The best thing I can say is ...more
May 11, 2014 Nicki rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, food-writing, 2014

I bought this book for my dad. Not because I thought he would like it, never in five hundred years would I have picked out a pie memoir as a gift for him. I got it for him because, in a round about way, he requested it. I was at the bookstore one afternoon with my mom and she said he had scribbled the title on a piece of paper that she was about to toss out. When she asked him about it, he simply said, "It's a book I want to read."
The bookstore didn't have the book. My mom doesn't do as much on
Jul 28, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
I loved this book and hated for it to end. Someday, I hope to go on up to the Pitchfork Pie Stand and buy a piece of Ms. Howard’s apple pie. If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you’ll be able to identify with all the feelings expressed in this book. Plus there are a few recipes at the end.
Diane  Sugars
Oct 01, 2014 Diane Sugars rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. This is one of the best books I have read in a while. I had come across Beth Howards, The World Needs More Pie facebook page a few months ago, and while following that page, I found out that she is an author. I finally picked up this book at the book store and I just simply loved her story. Her way of writing just speaks to you and her story about her love, her loss and her healing is just amazing. Being from Iowa I felt a connection with her descriptions of Iowa, o ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Knitme23 rated it did not like it
Making Piece was recommended by Orangette, the blogger whom I adore, but I did not like it at all. Her writing is self-conscious and dense, full of mixed metaphors and tortured similes: "His hands crimped the crust's edge, moving aroudn the circle with the deft and speed of a seaman coiling ropes". "This grieving business was like making pie for the first time. One needs some instruction in how to do it--consult a recipe, make a grocery list, and go after the goal with gusto."

She tries to do a
Jun 05, 2012 Heather rated it did not like it
Here is the way I view books. If I cannot get "into" them by the first few pages, I will continue for two more chapters. This particular book did not perk my interest at all. I just could not get into it.
Laura Green
Aug 11, 2012 Laura Green rated it really liked it
A wonderful story about grief, healing, friendship, love and self discovery. As a new Iowan, I can't wait to visit, meet the author and eat pie!
I'm somewhere in the 2 1/2-star range. I liked it well enough to keep going, but I was skimming a lot of the time. This book is probably most appreciated by people who have lost a spouse or someone that they were incredibly close to. Fortunately, I haven't yet gone through that experience, so while I felt sorry for Beth, I got tired of reading the grieving bits after a while. Hopefully, I gleaned enough from her experience to be supportive of others in her situation. As for the pie, a little goe ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
In this memoir, Beth Howard tells of the overwhelming guilt and grief that she feels when her husband dies unexpectedly while they are going through a divorce. Even though their marriage was dissolving, they still loved each other, stayed in constant touch and were on amicable terms. She relates her experience of going through grief counseling and trying to find a purpose in life that would give her the motivation to go on living. Pie ended up being her salvation. In this book, she relates the d ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it

In Making Piece, Beth Howard begins by describing a banana cream pie her mother made that prompted Beth’s father to propose. She follows in her mother’s footsteps, and bakes an apple pie for the man she eventually marries.
From that point on, the book turns into a memoir of loss. When Beth’s husband dies suddenly, she is adrift and awash with grief. She turns to her love of baking pies as a means to work her way through the terrible aftermath of her husband’s death. At the urging of a friend, h
Dec 03, 2015 Alexa rated it really liked it
(Review originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)

I have a constant love affair with dessert, and pie just so happens to be one of my favorites. There’s something about a crumbly crust, perfectly mushy apples and the sweet scent of cinnamon that gets to me every time (obviously, my favorite is apple pie). So, I love a good pie. I also love a good memoir. And that is basically the reason why I picked out Making Piece as one of the books I wanted to read recently.

It seems ironic for me to say that I
Mandi Kaye Ottaway
Apr 05, 2012 Mandi Kaye Ottaway rated it it was amazing
Reviewed at (4/6/12)

When I first saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. Food. Memoir. Yes, please! And I was not disappointed.

Beth's story is like pie. Specifically, strawberry-rhubarb.

It's bitter. It's messy. It's got some sweetness, too. Sometimes the ingredients get added in the wrong order, but it has substance, it will warm your insides and, even though it isn't perfect, it still turns out okay in the end.

I was crying within the first t
Linda Lackey
Apr 27, 2012 Linda Lackey rated it it was amazing
I bought this book as a gift for my mother-in-law who was holed up in a rehab center following surgery because she is arguably the Queen of Apple Pie in Athens County, Ohio. Then I read the first sentence: “I killed my husband. I asked for a divorce, and seven hours before he was to sign the divorce papers, he died.” Oh my. My mother-in-law is a widow. This might not be a cheerful little book about pie. Then, there was the line in the intro alluding to the legacy of pie appreciation she inherite ...more
Apr 07, 2012 TAMMY CUEVAS rated it it was amazing
Recommended to TAMMY by: NetGalley
by Beth M. Howard

Publisher: Harlequin

Imprint: HarlequinNonfiction

Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 9780373892570

When Beth Howard's estranged husband Marcus died suddenly, her world was turned upside down. The undeserved guilt that she felt was overwhelming. So, she did what she knew how to do. She baked pies. She packed up the RV that Marcus had bought hoping to make road trips and hit the road trying to assuage her grief while teaching pie baking.

This b
Carol E.
Jul 18, 2012 Carol E. rated it really liked it
This is a memoir. The author's husband suddenly dies, and she is thrown into the depth of grief and at a complete loss as to what to do with her life. She was always a pie baker, and she finds baking pies to be healing and comforting. She likes to share pies; she organizes several pie give-aways. She makes pies in multiples that I would never consider (50-100 at a time)! Then serves free pieces to a fire station and to random people on the street.

Pie is almost a spiritual enterprise for her, and
May 25, 2012 Courtney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, ebooks, kindle
I was fortunate enough to receive an ebook copy of Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pieby Beth M. Howard through Net Galley.

Usually I do not read memoirs/biographies/autobiographies because I just cannot get into them at all. But this one was the complete opposite. It had me hooked from the first page.

Beth talks a lot about how pie has always had a significant role in her family since that's the first thing her mother made for her father. What I really enjoyed about this book, though, i

Mar 02, 2013 Alli rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, book-club
Beth Howard is a pie baker who lives in the American Gothic house in Eldon, Iowa. She was born and raised in Iowa, but after high school left the state and life took her on a unique journey including adventure-travel-blogger, pie-baker-to-the-stars in Malibu, and a marriage to a successful German businessman. While that marriage was on the brink of divorce, her husband suddenly passed away from a ruptured aorta. Making Piece tells of Beth's journey from this shocking news to her new life baking ...more
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Beth Howard is a writer, pie baker, and pie evangelist. She is the author of "Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie" and the forthcoming cookbook, "Ms. American Pie" (April 1, 2014). Her popular blog, The World Needs More Pie, chronicles her travels and adventures in pie, and explores how pie helped her heal from the unexpected death of her 43-year-old husband. She learned how to make pie a ...more
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