A Piece of Cake: A Memoir
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A Piece of Cake: A Memoir

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  12,637 ratings  ·  1,356 reviews
Eleven-year-old Cupcake Brown woke up on the bicentennial and found her mother still in bed. She struggled to wake her up, pushing and pulling until she managed to tug her mother's lifeless corpse onto her own small body, crushing her beneath its dead weight. After squeezing out from under her mother, Cupcake calmly walked over to the phone and called her aunt Lori. "Lori,...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Broadway Books
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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
PaperbackCook
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Veronica
Feb 18, 2008 Veronica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Renee
Apr 17, 2008 Renee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Yvonne
Jan 09, 2008 Yvonne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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. At the time, I was looking for a similar job, I had just completed my 2nd yr in law school and I couldn't even get a call back. It was disallusioning to say the least. I was appalled at the wonton abandon with which this woman (a barred attorney) spoke. I also didn't believe half of the stories, starting...more
Kerri
One of the books chosen for The Reader's Den. I think its typical for this genre of memoir. Cupcake Brown obviously went through a lot in her life, but it just seemed repetitive and her voice was almost praising what her lifestyle was like.
Kc Chapa
I am so pissed that I didn't get this book sooner. This was one of those books that, whenever you go into a book store you always see it but don't buy it cuz you're scared it will suck. I saw this book on shelves for years...and always passed for fear of wasting money on a book that stinks. What a mistake.

I can't believe this woman was able to survive her life and tell about it. I really enjoy books where you feel like you have been there for a character's entire life. That is how I felt about...more
Zoe Cooksey
I just finished this hefty autobiography and let me tell you, it is so good. It follows the life story of Cupcake Brown (her real name, I know right?) and her tales of trauma through the foster program of the 1970s, her time as a Crip in the ghettoes of LA, and her struggles with drugs, alcohol and ultimately facing her past and turning her life around. This is one of those "Jeez I thought I had problems!" books, and it will really make you feel. It makes me want to adopt a child and give them t...more
Savi Malfitano
Most people will come across reviews of this memoir and immediately think, "This is about a junkie? I'm not one, I can't relate...". STOP. Buy this book! This is the story of Cupcake Brown and her struggle with addiction and most of all how she overcame it and reached her dream of becoming a lawyer. It's easy to think that a story of addiction may not pertain to you, especially if you never experienced drug addiction or alcoholism. I plead you to give it a chance because in this memoir you'll fi...more
Heather Rose
I seriously considered giving this book one star... Or, no stars... But, because it is a memoir, I had to rate above that, because, it would be cruel of me not to, right? I mean, you have to be brave to bear your soul, your past, your downfalls and shortcomings and acknowledge them, right? If this novel was 200 pages shorter... Oh wait, never-mind. I'm not going to make excuses... When you don't like the main character... And the main character is a real person, there are just no excuses... Now,...more
Amanda
I enjoyed this book. It was a VERY detailed memoir describing Cupcake Brown's life. I give it 3 stars because it can be very redundant at times. There were some repetitive stories that kind of dragged on. However the story as a whole is very powerful. It started out at age 11 when she found her mother dead. From there Cupcake was put taken away from the only dad she ever knew because he was her step-dad and not blood related. She was given to her biological dad, whom she just learned about at th...more
Katie Chatfield
Katie Chatfield
2/15/12
A Piece of Cake Book Review
Cupcake was just your average child until one tragic day at home when she found her mother dead, which led to the destruction of the rest of her family. So young and naive, she was quickly was introduced to the life of drugs and alcohol, which slowly became the only consistent thing in her life. After the constant abuse not only from the people she was supposed to trust but from herself as well, she finally decides to clean up, turning her life in...more
Chezon
Apr 05, 2011 Chezon rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chezon by: Gloria Few
In all fairness, this is how I feel about the book: She has a significant story, it just shouldn't be read. As you may see from my notes, reading this book became a chore for me. Cupcake overcame tremendous obstacles in her life, and for that alone, I'm glad I read it. It just wasn't written well. I would love to hear her tell her story at a speaking engagement. As of right now, I feel as if this book was a waste of my money. That's as honest as I can get.

The book is complied of 52 chapters (not...more
Andrea Andrea
It took me a while to get through this book; I went through periods of time where I could not put the book down, and other periods where I dreaded picking it back up. The book gives readers an inside look inside an addict's life and their recovery. Her story breaks your heart and makes you wonder how she survived. Her strength and courage are definitely something to be admired.

However, I find it hard to believe some of the detailed stories she writes about, specifically the ones where she is st...more
Aliya
wow. I honestly don't know what to say. This book is really good. Really GOOD with the capital letters :p
I remember, I was added this to my to-read last year but I just found the book last month and finished read it two days ago.
strong, powerful, touching, this book make me stop read in almost every chapters for a while to imagine how? how could it be Cupcake had such a terrible things happen at those ages.
this book open my eyes that we always have choice in life, everything is come back to ou...more
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so badly written 4 11 Jul 06, 2014 01:05PM  
The Reader's Den book discussion 18 114 Feb 16, 2014 05:19PM  
Aiossa's 14/15 Se...: (book review#3)Karen Sanchez-Zepeda 1 3 Nov 06, 2012 03:11PM  
Aiossa's Senior 5...: Shannon Schooler Book Review 2 1 3 Oct 18, 2012 06:39PM  
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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
More about Cupcake Brown...

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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.” 128 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'.” 99 likes
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