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Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie Hardcover – March 20, 2012
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About the Author
More About the Author
Before becoming a journalist, Howard established herself as a successful public relations executive. She began as a PR manager for a Hyatt Hotels mega-resort in Hawaii, which led to an account executive position at Rogers & Cowan in Los Angeles, where she launched the original hit TV series Beverly Hills, 90210. Other high-profile PR projects have included Diedrich Coffee, Hilton Hotels, and FUEL TV (a unit of Fox), establishing an internal publicity department for the action-sports cable network.
At the age of 25, she started a gourmet coffee business in Nairobi, Kenya, living the life of a modern-day Karen Blixen. She marketed her award-winning coffee in Kenya and the U.S. But after convincing The New York Times to run a story on her product, she knew media was her true calling.
She received a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, graduating in three years with an emphasis on communications and environmental studies. She has worked and lived throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. She continues to practice speaking French, Spanish, and German, though, admittedly, she gave up on Japanese and has forgotten most of her Swahili.
From 2010 to 2014, Beth lived in Eldon, Iowa, in the famous American Gothic House, where she wrote her memoir, "Making Piece" (published April 2012) and her cookbook, "Ms. American Pie" (published April 2014) and ran the Pitchfork Pie Stand. She is currently writing a memoir about living in the famous Iowa tourist attraction. She continues to write for magazines and is developing a TV/web series about pie. Her story and her blog, "The World Needs More Pie," has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, New York Times, Readers Digest, Midwest Living, Real Simple, Country Living, CBS This Morning, NPR, and many other national media outlets.
Top Customer Reviews
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 thirty pages. Beth writes herself so well that I felt as if her words were my own. When her heart broke, mine broke right with her.
When she began to rebuild her life, my heart rejoiced with hers.
"All I had to do was look around the room to see that you can lose your loved ones and still have fun, and not live like your heart is caged behind bars."
Beth's journey was full of pain, sorrow, humor, kindness, and pie. Lots and lots of pie. I am inspired to bake pie - and lucky for me, there are recipes in the back of the book! I'm going to start with the Banana Cream Pie and then make the French Silk Pie (and according to Beth, this recipe is better than sex!).
Bottom line - this is a memoir everyone should read.
What makes this tome so engaging is it's honesty. Beth is a no-nonsense type of woman. She put her story on these pages as she lived it-very emotional, lots of raw edges, no holding back. This gritty style of writing gives the reader permission to feel the loss, anger, desperation, sadness, and love that she describes in her memoir. Her non-linear telling of this intense journey along with other life happenings keep the reader engrossed. The back story provides some needed breaks from the emotional ups and downs directly related to her husband's death and Beth's grieving process.
The book forced me to reexamine many aspects of my life as it places the fragility of our existence directly in our sights. From that angle, it's a masterful example of the self-help genre without any preaching. At its essence, it's an intimate look at life through Beth's eyes; eyes that reflect an intelligent, creative, caring person dealing with a situation all-too familiar to many. We empathize with her, exult in her progress, and its all done with pie as the backdrop.
by Beth M. Howard
Pub Date: March 27, 2012
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 book tells the story of Beth Howard's overwhelming grief over the loss of her husband. The reader is along for the journey from the notification over the phone to the realization that his death was not her fault, and that the healing process was taking place. The underlying message of the book, for me at least, was that grief really is a natural part of life, and a process that takes time. Baking pies, sharing pies, and teaching people to bake them was her way of healing. The author writes so honestly of her grief that the reader can't help but share in that grief. At times, her grief is so strong that it pulls you in until you can't help but grieve with her. It is a very personal journal of loss, grief, and healing. But by the end of the book I couldn't help but feel as though I had made the journey with her.
And on a lighter note, I am CRAVING pie. I can't stop thinking about apple pie, peach pie, cherry pie, .............I can't speak for the rest of the world, but I need more pie.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Netgalley [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.Read more ›
While I do not for a moment doubt the author's deep grief and would not at all accuse her of some of the things she's been accused of in some of the reviews here, I did find it troubling to read about the dynamics of the marriage--a high-needs attention-craving person paired up with one who to my mind rightly wonders why his providing of love, a roof, insurance, luxuries, etc. is not enough. (But I suppose we are all wise in hindsight.)
Even more, I found it disturbing to keep reading about, to paraphrase the author, the notion of "take this six-figure job and shove it" and taking on a minimum-wage job to provide balm to your soul. I know too many people who struggle not only with grief and loss but also unemployment and barbaric work hours and the difficulty of paying health care costs and putting food on the table to look at someone who comes from wealth talking about a minimum wage job being akin to a vacation with a spa.
I suppose I also am put off by people who put a frame around themselves and a spotlight on themselves and point out what rebellious or independent or clever souls they are, and there was a thread of this throughout the book. It is difficult to write memoir without making the reader feel as if you're exalting yourself, it's true, and that is partly why I could not carry on past two-thirds of this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A real good memoir. Travel, home and pie. Nicely done. Great writing style.Published 4 months ago by corey
Wasn't quite what I wanted in the book but I might read it one day.Published 8 months ago by Melinda R. Moeller
Loved this book. it's one of those books that you don't want to end. I am looking forward to her next one.Published 12 months ago by Sheila Rombeiro
Great story about how to make the best of a life situation when you hit a fork in the road.Published 13 months ago by RKBo
Easy read. Compelling story and life lessons for all with a slice of pie. A joy to read.Published 18 months ago by Lindalee Grigg
Incredible descriptive power with words, I was hooked and addicted to her every pie picking word.
Keep the adventures coming.