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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

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  870 ratings  ·  192 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
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  870 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Nov 04, 2013 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
Jake Rideout
Jun 25, 2012 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
Apr 25, 2012 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 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
Peggy L
Jul 21, 2012 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
Jun 21, 2012 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
Aug 07, 2012 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 04, 2013 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
Carrie Honaker
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Howard’s journey through grief by way of pie really spoke to me. I have not lost a spouse, but this year has brought other brutal losses and baking is a form of therapy for me. In fact I have been making pie for days, enjoying the feeling of, “Making something with your own hands to share and make someone else happy will make you happy.”

Also, the fact that the author lived in The American Gothic House just makes me a little jealous. She made pie in that kitchen ❤️

Some of my favorite quotes:
Feb 25, 2012 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
Catherine Adde
Sep 02, 2012 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
Apr 06, 2012 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 RV s ...more
Sep 17, 2012 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
Dec 23, 2012 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 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 30, 2012 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. ...more
Jul 28, 2012 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.
Laura Green
Aug 11, 2012 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! ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Beth Howard’s life is turned upside down when her husband dies unexpectedly. Although they had been estranged and about to divorce, she finds herself riddled with grief and guilt. To find a way back, she turns to pie, something that helped her in a past crisis. When she gets the opportunity to film a potential series based on pie in the U.S., she shows us pie with the emotions and stories behind the scenes. She also talks about the process of making and teaching the process of pie. Over time, pi ...more
Ann Boytim
3.0 Journalist Beth Howard and her young German husband Marcus are going through a divorce when suddenly Marcus dies. Beth is filled with guilt and grief and unable to cope she packs up their RV and heads out not really knowing where she is going but she is filming a documentary about pies. Beth is going to use pie as a purpose in life and finds herself baking and and judging pies around the country and finally ending up where she began in life in Iowa. Beth finds herself at the Great American G ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoy a good memoir and found the style, 'pie' emphasis and complete honest sharing of grief in all its stages an amazing accomplishment for this newly made widow. The honesty was refreshing, sometimes even humorous. And though I thankfully still have my husband by my side, grief is universal- something we all will encounter at some stage in our lives. And so - whether you look at this as a how-to or what-if journey - it is a journey that is oh-so part of the human experience. ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
How do you rate a memoir that someone writes about their grief? Beth, grieved, cried, grieved and cried for a very long time over the death of her husband. She also bakes pies and loves to teach people the simplicity of making homemade pie crust. She lives in the American Gothic House. That's the house in the painting of the man and his daughter and he has the pitchfork. The book was WAY too long for me, yet my heart broke for her AND I am going to try making pie crust using her method. ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Along with sparking an interest in making and eating pies (never a favorite dessert for me), I really could identify with Beth's grief journey. She feels the loss of her husband deeply. I'm close to the 1-year anniversary of my partner's death and am dreading it. Like Beth, I have kept myself as busy as I can...I'm afraid if I stop I will break down completely. ...more
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a keeper ... having suffered a similar loss at age 48, it helped me immensely as I also found myself having to move from the east coast back to my roots in Wisconsin. A book I shall cherish.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read and now I want to make pie! Learned some good pointers on making pie in this book.
Angela Berntson
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good. Got me to actually try my hand at pie making with deep thoughts of resolution.
Adriana Attleson
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first “grief” book I actually finished. It will stay with me for a long while.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid memoir.
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Cute and sad but dragged a little.
Susanna Mahoney
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When a story touches this reader in a sentimental way I look for the words to describe the story. I came upon the Author’s words; and included them in this review for they sum it all up. This heart wrenching story of a woman’s personal journey through life’s rain storms and finally finding sunshine at the end tugged at this reader’s heart.

“Within the first six blocks of the two-thousand-mile trip, any trepidation Id had was replaced with excitement, a sense of possibility, a sudden surge of free
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Beth Howard is an author, blogger, and pie baker. She is the author of "Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie" and the cookbook, "Ms. American Pie." Her most recent book is "Hausfrau Honeymoon: Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany." She is the former (and final) resident of the iconic American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa, where from 2010 to 2014 she ran the Pitchfork Pie Stand ...more

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