Friday, October 12, 2012

MAKING PIECE: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie, by Beth M. Howard

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, her journey takes her through making a pilot for a reality TV show about pies and the bakers of pies.
Where she goes, and the discoveries she makes during her grieving process, form the major portion of this memoir. She describes in detail her steps to regain her focus in life, all based around pie. The descriptions she provides of pie-making, as well as the lovingly detailed descriptions of apple, banana cream, peach, coconut cream, and French silk pies will send you out the door to the nearest pie shop. Or have you tying on an apron to make your own. (The end of the book provides recipes.)
As someone who has experienced the death of a spouse, the early parts of this book stirred emotions I thought were long-buried. I could fully relate to many of her reactions and feelings. I'd warn any recent widows to put this book aside for a year or two. The emotions described are too painful.
Having said that, once Beth (and by proxy, you the reader) get through the worst of the grief, the ending portion is delightful. Readers of Making Piece will be encouraged by the author's journey.
Making Piece is written for the general market, and as such contains limited profanity as well as some sexual references.