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, my momma's dead." Here is the threshold of a hell for young Cupcake. Rather than being allowed to live with the man she believed to be her father--who turns out to have been her stepfather--she is forced into a foster home where the kids were terrorized, the refrigerator padlocked, and Cupcake sexually abused. She eventually fled the house, only to find herself wandering from misadventure to misadventure in the "system," while also developing a massive appetite for drugs and alcohol, an appetite she paid for by turning tricks. She settled down in Los Angeles and found a home in the Crips, where she was taken in and befriended by gangsters like the legendary "Monster" Kody Scott.
Brown reads her own horrific memoir of childhood paradise lost, sexual degradation and drug-fueled bad times with a surprising twinkle in her eye. Having made it through to the other side and a stable life, Brown revisits the ugliest places in her past, her matter-of-fact voice refusing to shy away from any of the brutal details. Brown does not milk her story for sympathy (although that is implicit in its very telling); she merely chronicles its twists and turns, its tragic losses and terrible indignities, choosing to honor her past by exposing it in its entirety. Brown's voice is measured and wry, exposing the foibles of her own stunted good sense at the same time as she documents the heinous callousness of the adults who by turns mistreat and neglect her after the untimely death of her mother. Her reading lacks something in emotion and professionalism, but its no-nonsense quality is the mark of an unhurried, self-taught storyteller. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 21, 2005). (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . This is better than coldest winter ever. More so because it's a TRUE story
Posted August 21, 2010 by Urban Reader , MilwaukeeThis book is sooo good. I couldn't put it down. It makes you cry and want to pull your hair. READ IT! If you like urban fiction, you will love this book. It's a true story and it is so captivating.
March 27, 2007
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Excerpt from A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
The booming music coming from Momma's radio alarm clock suddenly woke me. I could hear Elton John singing about Philadelphia freedom.
I wonder why Momma didn't wake me? I thought to myself.
It was January 1976. Wasn't no school that day. But Momma still had to go to work. So, while Momma was at work, I was goin' over to Daddy's house to play with Kelly, the daughter of his lady friend.
I wonder why she didn't wake me? I thought again to myself as I climbed out of bed.
When I passed the dresser I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Boy, was I ugly.
"Skinny, black, and ugly." That's what the kids at school called me. Or they'd yell out, "Vette, Vette, looks just like my pet!"
My name was La'Vette, but my first birth name was Cupcake. At least that's what my momma told me. Seems Momma craved cupcakes when she was pregnant with me. She had three cupcakes a day, every day, without fail, for nine and a half months (I was two weeks overdue). Momma said that even if she didn't eat anything else, she'd have her daily dose of cupcakes.
Anyway, seems that while "we" were in labor, the hospital gave Momma some pain drugs. Once Momma popped me out, the nurse said:
"Pat"-that was my momma"s name-"you have a little girl. Do you know what you want to name her?"
Tired and exhausted from eight hours of hard labor, Momma lifted her head, smiled sheepishly, and said, "Cupcake," before she passed out.
So that's what they put down on my birth certificate. I mean, that is what she said. (The nurses thought it was due to the excitement of motherhood, Momma said it was the drugs). A few hours later, however, when Daddy came to the hospital he decided he didn't like "Cupcake." Momma said Daddy wanted to name me La'Vette. So, just to make Daddy happy, Momma said she had the hospital change my name. I didn't mind, really. I loved my daddy; so as far as I was concerned, he could change my name to whatever he wanted. But, Momma said that to her I would always be Cupcake. She never called me anything else, 'cept sometimes she called me "Cup" for short.
Anyway, the kids at school always told me that I was ugly. They teased me, saying I looked like "Aunt Esther," that old lady from Sanford and Son, the one always calling Sanford a "fish-eyed fool." She was the ugliest woman I'd ever seen. So if the other kids thought I looked like her, I knew I had to be ugly. Besides, everybody knew a black girl wasn?t considered pretty unless she was light-skinned with long straight hair. I was dark-skinned with short kinky hair. I hated my complexion. I hated my hair. I hated my skinny legs and arms.