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Publisher's Summary

There are shelves of memoirs about overcoming the death of a parent, childhood abuse, rape, drug addiction, miscarriage, alcoholism, hustling, gangbanging, near-death injuries, drug dealing, prostitution, or homelessness.

Cupcake Brown survived all these things before she'd even turned 20.

And that's when things got interesting.

This is the strange, heart-wrenching, and exhilarating tale of a woman named Cupcake. It begins as the story of a girl orphaned twice over, once by the death of her mother and then again by a child welfare system that separated her from her stepfather and put her into the hands of an epically sadistic foster parent. 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 a dark comic blues opera. As Cupcake's troubles grow, so do her voice and spirit. Her gut-punch sense of humor and eye for the absurd, along with her outsized will, carry her through a fateful series of events that could easily have left her dead.

Young Cupcake learned to survive by turning tricks, downing hard liquor, partying like a rock star, and ingesting every drug she could find while hitchhiking up and down the California coast. She stumbled into gangbanging, drug dealing, hustling, prostitution, theft, and, eventually, the best scam of all: a series of 9-to-5 jobs. But Cupcake's unlikely tour through the cubicle world was paralleled by a quickening descent into the nightmare of crack cocaine use, till she eventually found herself living behind a dumpster.

Astonishingly, she turned it around. With the help of a cobbled together family of eccentric fellow addicts and "angels", a series of friends and strangers who came to her aid at pivotal moments, she slowly transformed her life from the inside out.

©2006 Cupcake Brown; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Cupcake's gonna sell like hotcakes." (Publishers Weekly)
"Her story of survival and triumph is incredible and often rough." (Booklist)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Realistic and Current

I work with women who had similar struggles like the main character. There were sad parts, happy moments...kept my attention the entire time

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • kj
  • 06-27-18

loved it

I read this book two times and this was my first time listening to it. Each time was like the first time

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Read!

The story was well written and gave good glimpse into the life of the author. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Resilient, Strong, and Brave

I admired Cupcake's courage for sharing her hardships and road to recovery. Being raped, addicted to drugs, living on the streets, gang affiliation, and being shot are not easy thing to talk about. Despite all of her misfortune's she turned it around and made her way up in the legal field and is a successful lawyer. I enjoyed this piece of cake and was happy to hear this was a New York Times Best Seller.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

Will be having a discussion soon in book club at church! Enjoyed hearing the story

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome comeback story

I was an emotional wreck reading this book and then I bought the audio version and it put me right in the middle of the Cupcake's life. I'm furious at the numerous people that let her down that could have steered her life in another direction but oh so grateful for the ones who did not give up on her and guided her to be the person she is today. In spite of you triumphed and won Cupcake! You are an inspiration!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I've read all year!

Thank you Cupcake for sharing such a intimate, real, and emotions story with us. I must say that I wasn't expecting such detail and honesty about your plight and was actually taken aback quite a few times by your bravery and diligence to overcome your situations. Although my upbringing wasn't quite as scarring as yours may have been, I often find myself not feeling adequate enough to overcome various adversities that I feel hold me back from achieving my high potential of greatness. But after listening to your journey and your path to true freedom of the mind through Faith and God I am sure that I will definitely listen to that "voice" more often! Thank you for being so great and reaching back to help others!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Key on at a time when trauma informed care is all the rage

This memoir discloses first-hand the powerful impact that traumatic experiences can have on youth and adults alike. Cup's bravery in all aspects of her journey and disclosures is truly the boldest it gets in being human. There's so much to be learned from this story by helping professionals and colleagues as well as young adults who may strongly identify with the content, experiences, and responses of one person. Thankyou for your bravery! And thankyou for including all the sources of strength that lead to resiliency.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 05-09-09

Unrelenting Tale of Adversity Overcome

Cupcake Brown had a terrifying childhood and young adulthood. She is orphaned, then sexually, emotionally, and physically abused in the foster system. She resorts to prostitution, lives homeless, and struggles with addiction. Her triumph over terrible circumstances is worth waiting for, but not for those who are easily offended. Her description of her hardships is explicit and uses language -- including frequent profanity -- fitting to the atrocities described. Author might not be ready for an acting career, but reads her own story with feeling and realism. A great pick for those who have a constitution strong enough to hear a disturbing story with much to teach.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Inspiring

Wow! Very interesting read. Very inspiring to those who have major obstacles to overcome.