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A Piece of Cake

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  26,475 ratings  ·  2,347 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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Stacy Smith seriously can't believe you asked this question. seriously. Should Anne Frank have apologized for making noise in the attic she needed to hide in.....…moreseriously can't believe you asked this question. seriously. Should Anne Frank have apologized for making noise in the attic she needed to hide in.....seriously? I hear you, however if that was the ONLY "take-away" you got, then you missed the point of Cupcake Brown's message. She is a motivational speaker and A LAWYER today I'm sure she is sorry for breaking laws...#WrongFocus.(less)

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  26,475 ratings  ·  2,347 reviews

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Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
✬✬✬✬✬ Bright, Shiny, Inspirational Stars!

One of the best memoirs I've ever read. It reads more like a novel than non-fiction. A MUST READ.

Can you identify the exact moment your life changed forever? For Cupcake Brown, it was when she found her mother, lying dead on her bed. In the blink an eye, her life was permanently altered and she knew it. When everyone uses the expression "in the blink of an eye" you don't really pay it much mind. But this is a situation where those six words could never be
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Did you ever read Push or see the film (it was called Precious)? That was like an extract from this book. It's an autobiography that is just brilliantly written and everyone in it is a total stereotype and all completely believable. I've never read anything like it.

I understand why in the black ghettos of the US kids want to be in gangs, the appeal of the Cripps is perfectly explained. I am seeing life not from a girl at the very bottom of the ladder, but one who had violin lessons and then bec
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-picks, memoir
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
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Ashley Daviau
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book years ago and fell in love with it but I don't think I was able to fully appreciate then as I did this time around. Because I don't remember FEELING so much the last time I read it. But this time around, I was hit by feelings with what felt like the force of a hurricane.

This is such an incredibly dark, gritty and yet stunningly beautiful story about one woman's journey through hell and back. Because truly, I don't think there's any word more fitting to describe what Cupca
Eva Leger
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Elyse  Walters
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this a long time ago ...( I still own it)
It was a hard book to put down.
Are they really making a movie?

Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star
I've probably read this book three or four times over the past several years; my copy is now well worn and probably needs replacing.

The market is saturated with memoirs and autobiographies of this kind; people who were abused or neglected as a child who struggle through life until they find emotional peace.

On the first page, I realised this book was unlike others of a similar genre. The language read like the writer speaks, full of western coast American slang. I thought, 'this is going to be
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enjoying
Wow........ just wow! Well done cupcake brown, I was hooked from the first couple of pages (excuse my pun) the way everything was described I felt I was there! One of the best books ive read, a huge 5*s .... a huge hug and thumbs up to the author cupcake Brown☺☺
Monica **can't read fast enough**
2 1/2 stars.

This book is poorly written and I admit that it was hard for me to struggle through about the first half of the book. It's not the tragedy and grittiness of the actual story that turned me off, it's mostly the writing. If it hadn't been for the fact that it was a book that I nominated for discussion I would have honestly DNF'd it pretty early on. It did read quickly but for me it was because I wanted to move through the bad writing as quickly as possible and just be done.

So many oth
Sarah Goodwin
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Izetta Autumn
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Ashley Ann
May 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Anita Pomerantz
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
First of all, this book is an undeniably gripping and gritty read. It brought tears to my eyes several times, and I'm always in awe of books that can do that.

If ever a book demonstrates the perils facing the underclass, this book does . . .starting with the risk of single parenthood, the ridiculous family court decisions, the abuses in the foster care system, followed by the dangers faced by runaways. Prostitution, gangs, drugs, spousal abuse, homelessness. The author's life careens out of contr
May 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
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
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago and suddenly just thought of it today.

Cupcake Brown's story is a powerful one and a very honest one. She talks candidly about her involvement with drugs, alcohol and prostitution. I think where the story fell short for me is her recording her drug use. It became almost monotonous (as drug use can be!) with highs, scores and lows. Withdrawals, scores, highs, it was all terribly cyclical and nearly drove me up the wall.

But I enjoyed her writing style and found it a readable b
Brandi Garner
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I had no idea what this book was about when I read it. I just heard it was really good. This book is an autobiography. It's a testament to how one's life can be flipped upside down in a split second. It walks the reader through the author's journey through abuse and addiction and her struggle with her higher power. It's a testament to how one can achieve and exceed their wildest dreams with the help of a sound support system and their relationship with their higher power. It's informat ...more
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
probably the most engrossing, vivid and even, at times, humorous account of drug addiction i've read. brown really has both a special voice and a unique perspective that elevated this book above and beyond other addiction memoirs.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
When my mom saw this book on my shelf she said, "Oh, your sister and I both hated that one."

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of Brown and what she's accomplished. I'm glad she's made her story public, and I hope her speeches, interviews, and memoir inspire others. I just really, really did not enjoy reading this book.

The story takes so excruciatingly long to unfold, in part because every little incident and detail gets spelled out explicitly, and in part because Brown's writing style is extremely
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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Play Book Tag: Piece of Cake 3 24 Oct 12, 2018 04:28AM  
so badly written 13 82 Sep 27, 2017 01:55PM  
Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 7 May 05, 2016 02:02PM  
Independent Novel 2 12 Apr 13, 2016 06:02AM  

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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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