50 Books By Authors of Color: Book 23
Title: A Piece of Cake
Author: Cupcake Brown
Finally, some non-fiction! A Piece of Cake is the true story of Cupcake Brown (Yes, that is her real name). At a young age Cupcake finds her mother dead from a seizure and her life changes forever. Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Cupcake, the man she knew as “Daddy” wasn’t her biological father and as such, she and her brother Larry are put into the care of their biological father Mr. Brown, aka “Sperm Donor”. Before her death, Cupcake’s mother had created a life insurance policy/trust fund for her two children and Mr. Brown wants that money, however, in what seems like a genius act of foresight the money can only be paid out in two payments, one at their 18th birthdays and one at their 21st birthdays. Angry and saddled with the two children Mr. Brown puts them in foster care immediately.
The foster care situation is horrible, the foster mother, Diane, puts chains on the refrigerator to keep the children from “stealing food” (more like trying to get an adequate meal) viciously beats them and allows her nephew to sexually assault the female foster children in her care. These actions are of course repeated but out of fear the other children refuse to substantiate the claims of abuse. Cupcake, unwilling to deal with the situation runs away. While out on the streets she meets Candy, a prostitute, who buys her a hot chocolate. Candy explains to Cupcake that nothing is free and sends her off to turn her first trick.
The cycle of Cupcake running away from Diane’s and returning of her own accord only happens twice, but for years Cupcake is returned to Diane’s countless times. In her periods away from Diane Cupcake visits other foster homes, lives on the streets and joins the Crypts. While a Crypt Cupcake commits a lot of crimes and I think it’s during this period in her life where she became a serious drug addict. Claiming that her favorite type of drug was “the free kind” over the course of her life Cupcake does almost every drug in existence. Cupcake believes that she is not really an addict because most addicts can’t hold down jobs and Cupcake manages to get and maintain jobs for a while. Her life takes a serious downshift when she meets and marries a young man named Tommy who introduces her to freebasing cocaine, which later becomes known as crack. Cupcake and Tommy are serious crack heads, they sell everything they own multiple times and even steal to afford their drugs.
Finally after a four day crack binge while living behind a dumpster Cupcake decides to finally get help from her boss at the law firm she was about to be fired from. Cupcake begins the long journey into recovery with only one relapse, at sixty-nine days she has an alcohol binge, but even though she is forced to start back at day one, Cupcake continues to seek sobriety.
Cupcake manages to not only go to community college, she gets a liberal arts degree and later goes to and graduates with honors from law school. That’s right, the former crack addict turns her life around so much that she becomes a lawyer, now that’s a change I can believe in!
Cupcake’s touching memoir is sometimes unbelievable, but only because I still want to have faith in humanity. It is not overly sweet but Cupcake is a writer I want to believe has changed her life for good.
Overall rating: 4/5