Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Making Piece

By Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**

Love. Loss. Grief.

We all deal with the grief that comes with loss differently. Several years ago, after my world turned upside down due to a series of unforeseen events, I turned to knitting in hopes of getting back a "normal" life. After the sudden death of her husband, Beth Howard turned to the healing power of baking pie.

I have to admit, my reasons for wanting to review "Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie" were selfish. My experience several years back wasn't my first experience with unforeseen changes in life, but it was the greatest one, and the one that has had the most impact on my life. As I've managed the rocky road that comes with navigating through a "new normal," I have developed a vast interest in how others handle this tricky path. So when I read the synopsis of this yummy tale, I just had to read more, hoping to further my understanding and growth process so that the next time I am presented with such difficult times, I can better master the bumps along the way.

I can't pick out a favorite part of this book. If I didn't feel the need to keep the pages in pristine condition, I would have marked it up like a textbook full of lessons, highlighting passages I wanted to make note of in case I ever wanted--or needed--to reference them at a later date.

The lessons seemed simple -- "I am going to be okay. Maybe not right away, but I was aware that I was indeed still alive and that I was capable of feeling something other than numbness." or "Sometimes you come to a fork in the road where you are forced to make a decision about which way to go, and the direction you choose can forever change your life."

However, I knew below the surface that these lessons were far more significant. Maybe this had to do with my own personal experiences with grief, but I'd like to think these lessons are universal and can be applied in many different aspects of life.

Photo credit: Kathryn Gamble
Now don't get me wrong, this is not only a book about grief and deep lessons that can be learned as a result; it's also a book about the pure joy pie can bring to others, and the joy and adventures it brought to Beth during various times in her life - including the period following the death of her husband. This book holds delightful tales of how Beth took her husband's RV, a.k.a. "The Beast", and spread her message about the healing power of pie while also developing her idea for TV show based on her belief that "the world needs more pie."

Beth Howard's story not only entertained me and reinforced lessons I had already learned through my own personal experiences, it inspired me to try baking a pie from scratch, as well. This has been something I've wanted to do ever since I was in college, so when I saw this book contained pie recipes, I immediately knew it was not only my responsibility as a diligent book reviewer to try out at least one recipe, but it was also time to fulfill my desire to create pie love.

I won't go into the great detail about my pie making experience in this review. However, I do want to talk about the pie mission that was inspired by one of the stories in this book - and also share with you how my pie turned out.

My peach pie in all its glory
Since I enjoy performing random acts of kindness, after making Shirley Stacey’s Peach Pie* (page 306), I made a (sort of surprise) visit to the medical center where my friend works in Michigan while on a road trip. I knew it would be on the way to my destination and it was the perfect opportunity to spread some pie love.

To say the pie was consumed quickly is an understatement. I would have had a second piece myself, but it was important to me that as many people who worked there got to indulge in a piece, including my friend who almost didn’t get one. Once folks were done with their piece, all I heard were rave reviews. One individual told me I was welcome to bring them pie anytime I felt so inclined. Later that evening, I received text messages from my friend regarding the continuous chatter about my visit. I feel as though all this feedback allows me to report that the recipes in this book are in fact reader friendly and doable for even the greenest of pie bakers. Also, that Beth Howard is correct - pie has the power to make people happy.

I have already made my second pie, Mary Spellman’s Apple Pie* (page 302), and am currently planning to make a third one soon (I’m thinking Strawberry). In the blink of an eye, I have become obsessed with pie making and I also find it a source of happiness. Maybe one day I can fine tune my pie making abilities with a personal lesson from Beth Howard. If not, I will always have this book in my collection as a reminder of the healing power of pie.

Love. Loss. Pie.

*For both pies I used Beth’s Pie Crust recipe (page 301)

Thanks to Harlequin Nonfiction for the book in exchange for an honest review and for offering FIVE copies to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.

How to win "Making Piece":
Tell us your favorite pie flavor OR your favorite pie restaurant. (One entry per person.) Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends June 5th at midnight EST


Cresta McGowan said...

Forgive me earlier delete - did not include my email address:

n all honesty, this is an unfair question almost impossible to decided. When I make pie, I am a traditionalist I guess: apple with granny smith apples ONLY. But, I do love peach pie, too. I'm the person at the picnic with a sliver of every pie available :-)

Anonymous said...

As someone who is incapable of making pie crust, I must defer to my favorite place to buy and eat pie, which is Louisville's Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen. They have an amazing smorgasboard of pies- so many that choosing one borders on stressful rather than joyous. Never had a "just okay" slice yet!
Julie Johnson

Carol N Wong said...

I have two favorite pies: Strawberry Rhubarb and Blueberry Peach. As you can see, I love two for the price of one.


Kritters Ramblings said...

There is an awesome pie shop in Ashburn/Leesburg VA that was featured on The Food Network called Mom's Pie Shop, their apple pie is amazing!

Bridget O'Neill said...

My favorite is not only apple pie, but my mom's apple pie of course! I loved it so much that in lieu of a birthday cake, I requested birthday apple pie every year!

EFC Chrissy said...

My favorite pie recipe is for apple pie from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I've doctored it up a bit...more apples!!! more sugar!!! But it is my favorite!!

Krystal Lynn said...

I used to love pecan pies as a kid. I always wanted to try blueberry pie because it looked so good and pretty. Once I finally made one from scratch, I found my knew favorite. Haven't tried them from any other place but MArie Callenders and Bill Millers. Both really great.

miss_kris_11 (at) yahoo (dot) com

A Soccer Mom's Book Blog said...

My parents own a family diner. My mom makes the absolute best homemade pies. I live in IL, but customers come from as far away as Pennsylvania to eat them.. My favorite has to be our Oatmeal pie with toasted walnuts,

Na said...

My favorite pie is cherry pie. I think random acts of kindness are wonderful as well and many can be done with some baking. Changes isn't easy to cope with but some kind thoughts can always help.


Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

She lives in my home state! I just saw her on the news the other day :) I really want to read this!

My favorite pie is peach :)

amber_johnson2004 at yahoo dot com

Jessica M said...

My favorite pie is this chocolate mousse peanut butter pie that I make. It has an oreo crust and it is sooo good!

-Jessica m

Linda Kish said...

I like Dutch apple pie.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Stephanie said...

I love buttermilk pie.

gfc follower

susieqlaw said...

Pecan pie

Sendsusanmail AT gmail DOT com

Cyndee said...

I wish I had this book when my Mom was dying in 2009. I can see where baking a pie would help to get through the feelings one gets when awful things happen in our lives. I like to bake chocolate pies,pecan and
Cyndee Thomas
cyndee dot thomas0 at gmail dot com

Erica said...

I LOVE marionberry pie. Yum!!

wordywon at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

I like peach pie.


teacherlisa said...

My favorite pie is peach pie. I love going to Briermere Farms in Riverhead, NY to get various fruit pies, including peach. You definitely need to go and try their pies. But be prepared to wait on a long line! It's worth it though..I promise!!!! Yummy!!!

Literary Chanteuse said...

I love blueberry pie!


Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I LOVE pie! I think my favourite kind would have to be coconut cream. My university had the BEST coconut cream pie and I always made sure to have a piece when it was available. :)

This book looks great ... and tasty!


karenk said...

I LOVE plain old fashioned apple pie :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Janice said...

My favorite pie is rhubarb. It is such an ignored pie, and I prefer to make it without strawberries. I think it is absolutely the easiest pie to make, just a little sugar and butter sprinkled liberally on the rhubarb. You can even buy a store made crust to make it even easier. Rhubarb pie is the first celebratory sign of spring.

BRN2SHOP9 said...

Apple pie

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Kristen said...

2 favorites - cherry and key lime!


Nova said...

my most favorite pie of all time is peanut butter pie; usually only find it at Frisch's restaurant.

rubynreba said...

my favorite pies are banana cream and coconut cream! My aunt makes great pies!!

Nancye said...

As a Kentucky girl, my favorite pie is Derby Pie (an amazing chocolate nut pie that is absolutely to DIE for!!)

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Anonymous said...

Key Lime Pie, Billy's, Hollywood, FL

Marilyn a.k.a. Merry said...

It's strawberry rhubarb all the way for me - yum!

Jeryl M. said...

I only like chocolate cream pie.

Kelly said...

I like any kind of pie my mother in law makes. She's an amazing baker.
moore79 (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Favorite Pie? Easier to say what I don't like! Lemon cream at the moment. But I love all fruit pies. I make pie a lot - it does soothe the soul.

Nic said...

Strawberry Rhubarb is my all time favourite! Thanks for the great review.

Tiffany Drew said...

Believe it or not, I only like one kind of pie: Chocolate Cream! I could eat it all day everyday, but I usually only get to eat it around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Boo!

I know the perfect person who would benefit from reading this book. My aunt lost her husband a few years ago and has also taken to baking. Thank you for the opportunity to win this for her. Even if I don't win, I now know what to give her for Christmas :)