The memoir of A Piece of Cake starts out very sad. The author of this book, Cupcake Brown is telling the story of her life. It begins in Sandiego, California in 1976 in a poorer part of town where Cupcake is growing up. In the first chapter of the book, Cupcake wakes up late wondering why her mother hadn't waken her yet. She went into her bedroom to find her 34 year-old mother dead . 11 year-old Cupcake was in complete shock and unsure what to do. Her first instinct was to call her dad and he told her to contact the police. But Cupcake knew if the police came she would barley have anytime with her mom, so she sat with her dead mom and held her. Then later the police came and informed the family that her mom had an epileptic seizure, swallowed her tongue and choked on it.
Throughout chapter 2 Cupcake's family mourns over the death of Momma. The only family Cupcake had was her dad and brother Larry who lived separately from her and her momma. Also she had her Grandma but she suffered from Alzheimer's and barely remembered anything. Last she had her Uncle Jr. who she loved. On the rainy and depressing day of the funeral, Cupcake expresses her anger towards God and blames him for not saving her momma. A few days after the funeral Cupcake and Larry go to the lawyer's office to see who will be getting custody of them. Either the man who Larry and Cupcake called daddy would be getting custody of them or a strange man named Mr.Burns would. Mr. Burns turns out to be Cupcake's real biological father. The lawyer decides that Mr. Burns will have custody of Larry and Cupcake because he is the biological father. The man that Cupcake had grown up with and called "Daddy" married a lady named Lori to try and get the children for himself but it did not work. Mr.Burns who wanted them for all the wrong reasons still got full custody of them just so he could inherit Momma's money.
Once Mr.Burns gained custody of the children he left them with a strange lady or also known as a foster parent, Diane. Since he didn't want anything to do with them. Cupcake and Larry disapprove of her because she swears a lot and seems cruel. She also tells stories of other foster children dying in her care.Their new house is in Lanchester, California and Cup thought it is a very nice house, especially compared to her last house in the hood. Everything in the huge house was fancy and beautiful. But the way Diane treated Cupcake and Larry was no where nearly as nice as the house. Out of nowhere, Diane punched both Cup and her brother hard!Also, Diane yelled at them. Cup knew from that moment on that life as they knew it would never be the same. Diane also only allowed Cup and Larry to be in three places: a tiny den, a bathroom and the back yard. They were not even allowed in their own rooms unless cleaning or sleeping in them. Diane had six other foster kids coming in so they would not have their own bed rooms.
Diane’s biological daughter, Connie was given special treatments like having her own bedroom and being allowed to go in rooms the foster children could not. Diane’s nephew, Pete also lived in the house. One of the first nights Cupcake and Larry were there, Pete and Diane started drinking. The more they drank the happier they would get. Pete decided to give Cupcake what he called rum and coke. She liked feeling it gave her after drinking it. So she named it her feel-good liquid. Also, when she drank it she felt pretty and not alone. Pete ordered Cup to go to the bathroom with her and all of a sudden he became very angry. Pete slammed Cup to the ground and wrapped a towel over her mouth. Pete of 21 years of age then raped the poor and innocent little 11-year old Cupcake. As Pete raped Cupcake, she thought again of her hatred toward God. She wondered why he was doing all of there terrible things to her. She decided to hate God because God hated her. Afterwards, Pete threatened Cup and told her if she ever told anyone that he had raped her, he would kill everyone in her family. He also told Cupcake to not even let telling Diane cross her mind because the only use of the foster kids was a paycheck to her. Two days later, Pete raped her again. The six other foster children arrived and all eight of them were treated just as terribly and were also basically paychecks and maids for Diane. Diane was extremely abusive towards all of them.
After such pain and how unsafe Cupcake felt at Diane's house, she could not handle life their anymore. She needed to run away. Cupcake ran for a long time. During her journey of leaving Diane's house, she met a girl named Candy. Cupcake described Candy as a pretty white girl. Candy gave Cupcake her first hit off the joint , more “feel-good” liquid and taught Cupcake the ropes to prostitution. Cupcake told herself she was only in it to survive on her own. That night Cupcake was faced with her first trick of prostitution at nearly 12 years old. Candy let Cup spend the night at her place and explained to her what a pimp was and how one lived in her home. Cup listened to the pimp named Money and all his rules.After hearing what he had to say, Cupcake knew in her heart that prostitution, smoking weed and drinking was not how she wanted to survive and ran away.
When she ran away, she had no plans on where to sleep, her only worry was getting out of Candy's house. The only means of shelter she could come up with was to sleep on a tree stump for the night. But the police spotted her and had to bring her back to Diane's house. When the police brought Cup back, Diane acted as though she was so concerned and worried. But as soon as the police were gone, the tables turned. I was right back to normal. Diane began yelling and abusing Cupcake. The abuse began to get worse and worse. Later on, Diane decided to enroll Cupcake in a school mainly made up of white people. But Cup did not mind this, she needed a break from the foster home. But the kids at school influenced Cup in a negative way. She began smoking weed and drinking every chance she got. She made friends with the wrong crowd at school with the kids who also enjoyed drinking and smoking. Cupcake began to follow in her friends footsteps. She watched her friends shoplift and started to do the same at just the age of twelve. Cup began stealing small things like wallets and cigarettes which she also started smoking. Once Cupcake started making unmoral decisions, Diane could see her change in behavior. It kept getting worse and worse. So a whip became Cup’s new frequent form of punishment for not cleaning things well enough.
Cupcake decided to run away again. She went to the tree stump where the cops had picked her up before and hitchhiked until a black man, named Bob picked her up. Cupcake turned her second trick with Bob and he paid her and drove her to Thousand Oaks. When Cup arrived at Thousand Oaks, she did not know what to do and decided to call Uncle Jr. Even though she had not spoken with him in months, he was still generous and came up with a plan to send her money to get on a bus to get back to San Diego. Jr. was so happy to see Cupcake and brought her to live with Aunt Pam. Once Aunt Pam saw the marks on Cupcake from all the abuse she had from Diane, Pam had no choice but to call the welfare agency of Diane. Cup had to go to a large family facility in San Diego, also known as Hillcrest Receiving Home. This place housed children who had been abused, neglected, or abandoned. Since Hillcrest was not a long term place to stay, Larry and Cup had to be sent to foster homes in the San Diego until they were notified by the court of who would take them. Momma had not even been dead six months at this point and so much had already gone wrong. Cup and Larry were then sent to live with Mrs. Bassinet, a woman very similar to Diane. She forced the kids to clean much of the time and was always drunk. This meant Cup had easy access to alcohol so she would steel it from them. Mrs. Bassinet was not as physically abusive as Diane, but she swore a ton at them.
Cupcake had a vision of being a cheerleader, but Mrs.Bassinet objected. But understanding Mr. Bassinet, or so she thought, told Cup he approved and would take her after school to the practices. On the way to her very first practice, Cupcake was very anxious and excited. But strangely Mr.Bassinet decided to pull into the Kmart parking lot. He then gave Cup a pill called LSD to take and then all of a sudden raped her. They never made it to cheer leading practices and did these three times every week. Mr. Bassinet also introduced Cupcake to cocaine and at every “practice” they’d smoke and drink together. Mr. Bassinet protected Cup until one night the police woke up Cupcake and she was taken back to Hillcrest, probably because Mrs. Bassinet found out about the “practices”. When Cup returned back to Hillcrest, they forced her talk to a psychiatrist because she had been through so much trauma. Her psychiatrist decided to tell the judge Cup should be sent back to Diane’s house.
So far I am very intrigued by Cupcake's life story. I am amazed on how drastically her life changed in such a small period of time. I am also heartbroken though because Cupcake had faced so much trauma at such an early age, and a lot more trauma than anyone would face in an entire lifetime. I predict that when Cupcake is sent back to Diane's house, she will be just as unhappy as before. Then she will be tempted to run away so she can start over and not deal with an abusive living situation.