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Book Review

September 13, 2012
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‘Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie’

Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Harriet Leitch

By Beth Howard

Published by Harlequin

March 2012

$ 24.95

310 pages

Beth Howard’s first book tells of her encounter with great sorrow and the resulting journey that enabled her to deal with her grief. In August of 2009, Howard received a phone call letting her know that Marcus, her husband of six years, had died suddenly. Howard immediately plummets into debilitating guilt and sadness.

She permits herself to openly grieve and wanders, the combination of traveling and spending time with her friends, family and dogs aiding her mourning. She gets behind the wheel of Marcus’ RV in order to head to Los Angeles. When a TV producer friend — enamored with Beth’s pie blog — suggests they make a documentary about pie, the project becomes a turning point for Beth. Pie has always been a part of her life, including when she quit a high-paying job to make minimum wage baking pies in Malibu. She immerses herself in the documentary and begins to look beyond herself as she seeks the stories of others, often finding that they, too, have dealt with grief.

With Team Pie, her support group of friends, she bakes 50 apple pies and hands out free slices in Venice Beach, encouraged by how sharing the pie makes others happy. In search of more pie stories, she becomes a pie judge at the Iowa State Fair, a return to her home state. While there, she visits her birthplace, Ottumwa, and a chance occurrence leads her to visit the nearby “American Gothic” house, scene of the famous Grant Wood painting. She ends up moving back to Iowa, renting the home and selling pies at her Pitchfork Pie Stand there. For her, the tactile art of making pies and sharing something homemade and handmade makes the world a better place and helped her make peace with herself.

“Pie is comfort. Pie builds community. Pie heals. Pie can change the world,” she believes. Beth’s honest, heartbreaking memoir is a hopeful one, her resilience inspiring. CV

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