||A Piece of Cake: A Memoir
Format: Hardcover, 480pp
Pub. Date: February 2006
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
List Price: $24.95
A Piece of Cake, Cupcake Brown, 1400052289
FROM THE PUBLISHER
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
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
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
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
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
The eerie quiet returned.