Monday, March 19, 2012

(36)Making Piece by Beth M. Howard

Making Piece

Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Pages: 320

I have told you guys that I am originally from Iowa, right?  I grew up in a small farming community about an hour Southeast of Omaha.  I lived there until I was 25 and moved to Kansas City.  There is something about Iowa that is simple and good.  I know many people consider Iowa a "flyover state" but they are truly missing out on something special by not making a stop.

I think author Beth M. Howard has captured that special something just perfectly in her new book, Making Piece.   When Beth's husband, Marcus, dies unexpectedly at the age 43, she does not know what she is going to do with her life.  She is broken, alone, and guilt-laden.  So she does the only think she knows how to do to make herself feel better.  She makes pie.  You see, Beth is an Iowa girl at heart, and making pie has always had a special way of healing her hurts.  A producer friend gets involved and says "Let's make a documentary about the healing power of pie".  And they take off on a road trip along the West Coast capturing the healing powers of pie.

It is her involvement with the show and her blog that lands Beth a gig as a judge at the legendary Iowa State Fair a year after Marcus's death.  While in Iowa for that trip Beth finds her self traveling home, to Ottumwa, to where she was first introduced to pie.  And it is that road trip that leads Beth to Eldon, Iowa and the American Gothic house.  And it also leads her to the path of healing.

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 river into Council Bluffs and seeing the sign that says "Iowa A Place to Grow" and how it just felt right.  I know that feeling so very well.  I have had that same feeling every trip "home"  for the last two plus years.

I really enjoyed Making Piece.  I am sure that I enjoyed it more because of the Iowa connection than I did anything else,(not really a pie girl, unless it is made of chocoolate) but I enjoyed watching Beth make it through that critical year.  She went from being the "big city girl" back to that "small town Iowa girl" with such ease that it almost makes me long to do the same.   I think that Making Piece has a little something for everyone, including recipes at the back of the book.


Sara Bell said...

My husband lived in Iowa for about a year when he was little and has quite a bit of family up there. I'll get up there eventually, but I always think the photos are beautiful. It's funny because all of those "flyover states" seem to have a lot more appeal to me than they do to most people.
This book sounds good but hard. I always have trouble reading about spouse loss.

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

I agree with you about the Flyover states having more appeal, but that might be because it is all I have known for living.

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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