A Piece of Cake

A Piece of Cake

A Memoir

Book - 2006
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Random House, Inc.
There are shelves of memoirs about overcoming the death of a parent, childhood abuse, rape, drug addiction, miscarriage, alcoholism, hustling, gangbanging, near-death injuries, drug dealing, prostitution, or homelessness.

Cupcake Brown survived all these things before she’d even turned twenty.

And that’s when things got interesting….

You have in your hands the strange, heart-wrenching, and exhilarating tale of a woman named Cupcake. It begins as the story of a girl orphaned twice over, once by the death of her mother and then again by a child welfare system that separated her from her stepfather and put her into the hands of an epically sadistic foster parent. But there comes a point in her preteen years—maybe it’s the night she first tries to run away and is exposed to drugs, alcohol, and sex all at once—when Cupcake’s story shifts from a tear-jerking tragedy to a dark comic blues opera. As Cupcake’s troubles grow, so do her voice and spirit. Her gut-punch sense of humor and eye for the absurd, along with her outsized will, carry her through a fateful series of events that could easily have left her dead.

Young Cupcake learned to survive by turning tricks, downing hard liquor, partying like a rock star, and ingesting every drug she could find while hitchhiking up and down the California coast. She stumbled into gangbanging, drug dealing, hustling, prostitution, theft, and, eventually, the best scam of all: a series of 9-to-5 jobs. But Cupcake’s unlikely tour through the cubicle world was paralleled by a quickening descent into the nightmare of crack cocaine use, till she eventually found herself living behind a Dumpster.

Astonishingly, she turned it around. With the help of a cobbled together family of eccentric fellow addicts and “angels”—a series of friends and strangers who came to her aid at pivotalmoments—she slowly transformed her life from the inside out.

A Piece of Cake is unlike any memoir you’ll ever read. Moving and almost transgressive in its frankness, it is a relentlessly gripping tale of a resilient spirit who took on the worst of contem-porary urban life and survived it with a furious wit and unyielding determination. Cupcake Brown is a dynamic and utterly original storyteller who will guide you on the most satisfying, startlingly funny, and genuinely affecting tour through hell you’ll ever take.

When it came time for me to talk, I wasn’t sure which parts of my past to tell, which to keep secret, and which to pretend never happened. Uncle Jr. had already seen the welts on my back, so he wasn’t too surprised when I told them about some of the physical abuse I endured at Diane’s. Everyone else hit the roof, except Daddy. He got really quiet and started balling and unballing his fists.

I continued my update. Experience had taught me that adults have trouble accepting the idea of children having sex. I decided that from then on, that part of my life never happened. I picked up the story by telling them about Fly, the Gangstas, and getting shot.

I was dying for a cigarette. So it seemed a good time to announce that I smoked cigarettes—and weed.

After a moment Sam looked at me, smiled, and handed me one of her Marlboros. I preferred menthols, but beggars can’t be choosers. I kicked back, took a long drag, and closed my eyes.

Daddy and Jr. were silent. They seemed a bit shocked and unsure about how to respond.

“Well, Cup,” Jr. said, “it’s a little too late to be trying to raise you now. But those cigarettes will kill you. And weed will only lead you to stronger drugs.”

He didn’t know how right he was. But for me, it was too late to be worrying about stronger drugs—the only worrying I did was whether I could find a connection to get some. So I just smiled, nodded, and took another hit off my cigarette.

The eerie quiet returned.

—from A Piece of Cake

Also available as a Random House AudioBook and eBook.

Baker & Taylor
An inspirational, frequently disturbing memoir of a troubled youth describes how the author fell victim to the ills of the child welfare system and her long and difficult struggle to rebuild her life.

& Taylor

An inspirational, frequently disturbing memoir of a troubled youth describes how the author fell victim to the ills of the child welfare system, detailing her experiences with sexual abuse, neglect, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, and gang banging, as well as her long and difficult struggle to rebuild her life. 50,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Crown, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400052288
Characteristics: 470 p. ; 25 cm


From the critics

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Oct 31, 2018

This book is an excellent read. Deep, gritty, mind-boggling, and a tear-jerker all in one.

May 29, 2016

This addiction and recovery memoir is so special because unlike other authors, Cupcake Brown takes us through her recovery story. She details how relying on sponsors and others in recovery is key. She is humble in her recovery. How she works and puts herself through college is admirable. She comes out on top, but she tells us how she did it: Hard Work and being honest with those around her. Bravo!

ss1989 Jun 06, 2015

to be honest i felt myself having trouble feeling sympathy for the author- not during the periods of abuse of all kinds, no, naturally that was horrendous and my heart went out to a small child left orphaned and failed by her remaining blood relative. Im alluding more to the tales she shares of her willful experiences committing crimes or mistreating those around her in bouts of drunkeness or drug highs. I just didnt feel that there was much remorse as they were just retelling of events. I didn't see any reflections on terrible behavior. that being said it is still an engrossing book and i recommend it.

stephieweffie Apr 28, 2015

It's a must read for those trying to discover their own voice in memoir writing. You will see the most coveted convention broken-innocence-and you will be enraged. She gets away with telling and not showing often, but it fits this story like no other and her voice remains original (and gangsta) throughout. If you are a writer, add this to your book list immediately.

Sep 22, 2014

The book is definitely a must read! If you have ever overcome addiction or just want a glimpse of what it's like into the life of a recovering addict this book is for you. Cupcake Brown truly goes through every horrifying experience a person can endure and yet she comes out on top. The story touches my heart and reminds me of my own road to recovery. The story is beautifully written and yet very sad, very well written.

Lauraparr Mar 06, 2014

It gets worse before it's gets better. Chapter after chapter, when you think it can't get any worse, it does. Cupcake Brown is truly incredible and touching. Her story is about faith, determination and the long and painful road to recovery and self esteem.

nikki718 Apr 27, 2013

Good Book. sad!!! really good book!!!
must read!!!!

Mar 13, 2013

I read this book in a weekend. It was impossible to put down. Cupcake Brown has a great voice. This memoir was heartbreaking and at times humorous. You want to read this. Correction, you NEED to read this!

peppeetoe Aug 21, 2012

This book made me cry, laugh and appreciate my life. It really moved me spirtually and mentally. I recommend this book even to the young people to see how this wonderful woman survived a hard life of drugs, prostitution, sexual and mental abuse. No matter how hard life is you can overcome it. Peace be with you. God Bless. Brenda

Jan 23, 2012

Great book. Very real.

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Sep 22, 2014

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