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A Piece of Cake

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  15,758 ratings  ·  1,503 reviews
This is the heart-wrenching true story of a girl named Cupcake and it begins when, aged eleven, she is orphaned and placed in the 'care' of sadistic foster parents. 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 ...more
Paperback, 472 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsNight by Elie WieselAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Best Memoir / Biography / Autobiography
55th out of 2,876 books — 3,165 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Memoirs by Women
46th out of 1,396 books — 1,795 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jenn
Before I started reading this book, I read several reviews of it. They varied--either people really like it or they didn't. I really liked it.

Of those who didn't they complained generally about one of two (or both) things:
1) The story was too unbelievable; therefore, it must be exaggerated or falsified in some way; and
2) The book is poorly written--has bad grammar and obvious transitions, for example--and probably should have been written by a ghost-writer.

I disagree with both of these points. A
...more
BookAppétit
A Piece of Cake is one of those books that won't fade into the background long after it's been shelved for me. The story is so incredible, at times I felt like I was reading another Frey memoir that was somewhat embellished. Cupcake Brown is thrown into the foster care system at 11 and survives abuse, the streets, gangs, and drugs/alchohol to a point that puts her behind a dumster for several days at one point. If you don't like rough language- this one will be tough. However, I think it's so im ...more
Demetria
Aug 27, 2007 Demetria rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who are more interested in a good story than quality writing.
Shelves: bio-memoir
A Piece of Cake is a prime example of a story that is much better than the writing. This memoir is the life story of Cupcake Brown, a woman who has overcome abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, domestic violence and gang life to become a successful attorney and thanks to this book, a best-selling author. Brown's journey is nothing short of amazing. In fact, some have questioned the validity of her claims (in light of James Frey and others) because of the extreme situations detailed i ...more
Danica
Nov 16, 2007 Danica rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
This is a great story, but even that can not make up for the horrible writing techniques. The author has had an amazing life and her story is truly amazing and leaves a feeling of hope for those who have friends or family involved in addiction. However, she tends to ramble and repeat her situations to the point that the story becomes boring and redundant. Also, you can tell she is attempting to write in the way that someone in that situation would actually speak, but at the same time, she never ...more
Eva Leger
Aug 03, 2008 Eva Leger rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in memoirs & addiction recovery
Recommended to Eva by: myself & Charlette
This is one of the best books I've ever picked up. I don't think I've ever read a better book on the subject of drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. I knew there was a reason why I got this book without knowing much about it. Knowing enough about addiction and recovery to know that this is an honest account only made it that much better for me. After reading A Million Little Pieces and knowing it was a load of crap before the "truth" came out- reading a HONEST recollection of someones addict ...more
Adriane
Sep 16, 2007 Adriane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is a raw account of Cupcake Brown and her real life of drugs, sex and redemption and how yuou can turn it all around if you just believe in yourself. Not for the faint of heart or those who believe that life is all cupcakes and puppy dogs. I love the way she uncovered the raw truth of how the world, foster system and sometimes even your own flesh and blood can be real ugly. A definite favorite. Visit her website for more info, just Google her name.
Melissa
Oct 17, 2007 Melissa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in learning about life on the streets
Shelves: bookclubbooks
This book started out as a great read. I loved her stories of life in foster care and on the street. About halfway through the book it became redundant. Towards the end it picks up again and became more interesting. Part of the problem is her grammar. She tries to use street talk and then transform into more educated prose, but she doesn't do a very good job. The story of her amazing life is hidden behind poor writing.
Renee
Apr 17, 2008 Renee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any one who craves hope
Cupcake Brown (that's her real name) was 11 in 1976 when her mother died. Custody of Brown and her brother was given to a stranger—their birth father—who only wanted their social security checks. He then left them with an abusive foster mother who encouraged her nephew to rape Brown repeatedly. Brown got better and better at running away. A prostitute taught her to drink, smoke marijuana and charge for sex. Her next foster father traded her LSD and cocaine for oral sex. Eventually she went to li ...more
Veronica
Feb 18, 2008 Veronica rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All CPS workers!
This book is good but very hard to read! It's about Cupcake Brown's life after she was thrown into the foster care system back when there was zero regard for the best interest regarding placements. Man, she has gone through so much shit and I'm only about a fourth through the book. I cannot read this book at night in bed because I was having dreams about it. When I met with my teenage client the other day, I was thinking about Cupcake's experiences. Nonetheless, it is super good to read for the ...more
Izetta Autumn
At a certain point in this memoir, I just had to question the unbelieveable events of Cupcake Brown's life. How could all of this happen? How could a person survive? It can't possible be true, can it?
But for Cupcake Brown, she's lived every moment of it.

There are two things that I truly appreciate about this memoir: it gives a very detailed view of addiction, particularly to crack cocaine and addiction generally, and it makes it clear that care and protection of children is a paramount task for
...more
Shanae
Hmmm, well, I really don't know how to describe Cupcake Brown's A Piece of Cake: A Memoir. It was underwhelming for me. I tend to go into a book with a lot of skepticism. It is, in my opinion, the author's responsibility to provide me with a literary experience so profound that I do not question his/her motive. Every writer has a motive. No one writes just to write - there is a mission and I think part of Brown's mission was to provide a story so unbelievable, so hurtful, so shocking that you'd ...more
Ashley Ann
Not good. Not good. A Piece of Cake was my book club book for this month. When someone recommended it, it sounded interesting enough, the story of a girl's descent into drugs and prostitution. I read it over the weekend while house-sitting / puppy-sitting. Not good. Not good. It was 300 hundred pages of repetition of her doing drugs, telling herself she wasn't an addict, doing a few "business arrangements" when she needed the money. Just when I thought her life couldn't get any worse and that sh ...more
Yvonne
Jan 09, 2008 Yvonne rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Yvonne by: book club
The book spent to much time taking me through every bad experience in her life. I did not go through every drug/alcohol enduced binge. The book is 465pgs. And 365 of those she is high. Half way thorugh I just wanted her to hit rock bottom, wake up in a gutter somewhere then get it together. It kind of reminds me about "A Million Little Peices" After a while I just wanted it to end. The good news is that she does check her self in and goes to school to practice law. Yeah!!!!!!! Because I can not ...more
Martin
I bought this book several times when I worked as a therapist at an adolescent group home. I never got to read it because each successive copy would either 'come up missing' (taken without permission and never returned) or I would lend it to one of my group home kids in an attempt to get them to read. Loving the book, they would then lend it to their friends and I would never see it again. Because of the way this book had touched the lives of people who had touched me, I thought it would be more ...more
Kaytie
I'm only about 100 pages in, and I find myself doubting almost every word this woman is saying. After working in the education field and with kids in the "system," many of her stories are ridiculous. To start, the fact that her biological dad was able to step in after her mother died, after never having seen the kids ever before in their lives, when they were both under shared custody with their step-father, doesn't make any sense. At all. Second, the fact that EVERY SINGLE foster home was as ab ...more
Khelani
I rated this book a 1 star because at the time I was very upset that a woman named cupcake brown who smoked crack and did ampehetamines on her lunch break had mulitple jobs as a legal secretary.
Julia
First, I think this was a great story that needed to be told, but the way it was told made reading the book a frustrating experience rather than inspiring. After about the first 350 pages, I began to enjoy the book more, but since the book is just under 500 pages, I spent the majority of the book just wanting to get to the end to get to the recovery. I'm glad I read it all the way through and it does seem like a book with overall good reviews (It is a New York Times Bestseller), but I did have s ...more
Benny K
The story of Cupcake Brown is a true story that’s emotionally uplifting and inspiring, which motivates the reader to reflect on their own lives. I remember that when I was reading this book for the first time, I was absolutely blown away by the honesty that Cupcake was writing with. When she said “This [prostitution:] ain’t so bad,” she wasn’t afraid of the world knowing about her past, and I felt very emotional because she was only nine and was so innocent and pure.
I learned that Cupcake’s p
...more
Neelum
Sep 16, 2014 Neelum rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: favorites
Cupcake Brown, you have successfully opened my eyes to the world outside my comfortable bedroom. We see things every day and we believe what we see is what it is at the most but reading books and memoirs which are brutally true like “A piece of Cake” makes you aware of how important it is to stand up every time you fall and be grateful for what you have.

When I started reading this, I thought to myself that there is definitely no way that Cup, coming from a background so raw and hazardous would b
...more
jamie
The most inspiring biography I've ever encountered. I cried, laughed, and felt the painful moments of her life as she struggled with drug/alcohol addiction and was often homeless because she ran away from her abusive foster family. There were many times when I felt so angry at the corruption of the foster care system and how often she was not believed when she showed her back welts from multiple whippings and yet she was still placed in the same abusive foster home time after time.

When she fina
...more
Anne
May 04, 2008 Anne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Raz
This is a memoir written by a woman practicing law at a big firm in San Francisco. But, before she broke into the corporate world, she had to overcome a horrible childhood. Her mother died when she was 11 and in an unbelievable example of how screwed up our child welfare system is, she ends up in a foster home. With a physically abusive foster mother only interested in checks from the government, Brown is then raped by the foster mother's nephew. Brown runs away repeatedly, turning tricks for mo ...more
Jessica Lin
I believe my love for reading is deeper than most people's. I have always read to escape, to take break from my problems for a while and climb inside someone else mind and gain a different perspective and every time I do this I come away with something new. But A Piece of Cake has given me more than I could have ever expected. This book is for any person who has ever doubted whether they have the ability to change themselves for the better. For the people that have every reason to give up but do ...more
Sarah Goodwin
I see a lot of people complaining about the writing of this book, and, ok, it takes some getting used to. The sentence structuring is weird, and in places there are cliches and over the top dramatic sentences, but, that's how people talk. I found the style to be confidential and chatty. I would be really easy for me, a white, middle class woman with a perfectly nice upbringing, to feel alienated by the world depicted in this book, but the inclusive tone kept me hooked.

Cupcake's story is amazing,
...more
Emily
Absolutely loved this memoir! Once I started the book, I could not put it down. I was completely engrossed in following along with Cupcake as she recounted her emotional life journey. Although her story is full of incredible extremes, I think there are several parts of this book that are relatable and can serve as an inspiration to people from all walks of life. On another note, I understand that a book review entails giving your own opinions, but the reviews on here that criticize the way in wh ...more
Korinna
This book took me like 6 months to read because the first half was so difficult to get through. Cupcake had some really horrible things happen to her as a child, and when she writes about them you can't help but wonder how many other children had similar experiences who were never able to thrive the way she did. I work with "at-risk" teenagers and I often tell them about cupcake's story when they tell me they don't see opportunities for themselves. She rose from childhood abuse in the foster car ...more
Sandra Salas
I can only say well done to the author who was so brutally honest and open about her life, she didn't try to sugar coat anything or claim that she was a victim she took full responsibility for her life and actions. The fact that she was able to turn her life around from being a drug addict that would do whatever it took to get high and become a Lawyer is truly inspirational and just goes to show that with enough will power and determination you can do whatever you want in life. I love how she ma ...more
Khyrra
This is truly one of the most inspiring memoirs I've read in a long time. Probably ever. Written in the rarest form of honesty, Cupcake Brown takes us on her journey through life. Reading about all of her hardships made me more thankful than ever before. And it's a true testament to the saying, "When you're going through something, someone is going through something worse". And even more, her story showed, at least to me, there is a God and that he does answer our call when we need Him.

Finally,
...more
Denisele
Feb 07, 2012 Denisele added it
Shelves: half-read
I partially listened to this and partially read it. I got about halfway through, but the speed wasn't really holding my attention. It was emotional and personal with a few humorous moments thrown in. There is at least one very disturbing scene that has really stuck with me (with the other foster girls in the garage). It reminded me of A Child Called It, but is very graphic and more vulgar as there is more sexual abuse. It certainly sheds light on the flaws of the foster system and does a good jo ...more
Craignisbet
Extremelly moving book that left me feeling more than a little grateful of my lot in life, and reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. Cupcake is a normal happy 11 year old girl until the sudden death of her mum, at which point she is thrown into a brutal life of violence and abuse. To escape she turns to prostitution and drugs. The abuse that Cupcake endures time and time again, and from such a young age will shock and disgust. Now a practicing lawyer in San Francisco she has managed to ...more
Brittany Marsteen
To sum it up, this book blew me away. It is just so inspiring to see how one person can go through so many devastating events to having unshakable faith in God. It may not be written properly and that turns a lot of people away from reading it but that was the perfect way for the author to get the reader to feel her story and every feeling she experienced through it all. This is one book I will always recommend and one book I will definitely read multiple times.
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Cupcake Brown was not born into a life of privilege, intellectual stimulation, or professional dynamics. Her younger years were not a model for achieving success; her youth interrupted by violence and emotional turbulence. At 11, she regularly engaged in prostitution, drugs, and alcohol. By age 13, she had graduated to gang activities and street crime. Unfortunately, life would get much worse befo ...more
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“Always remember the acronym for "FEAR" can mean one of two things: Fuck Everything And Run or Face Everything And Recover.” 139 likes
“She talked about wanting to be a part of something, wanting to be desired, to be 'special', craving to be loved. She talked about experiencing the kind of loneliness so immense it could swallow you up. She called it 'loneliness that crowds couldn't cure'.” 107 likes
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