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A Piece of Cake: A Memoir
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Cupcake Brown practices law at one of the nation's largest law firms and lives in San Francisco. Visit her website at cupcakebrown.com.

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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 live with a great-aunt in South Central L.A., where she joined a gang. Almost 16, having barely survived a shooting, she decided to quit gangbanging. Drugs were her new best friends. A boyfriend taught her to freebase, but then there was crack, which was easier. Before long she was a "trash-can junkie," taking anything and everything. It wasn't until she woke up behind a Dumpster one morning, half-dressed and more than half-dead, that she admitted she needed help. Brown conveys this all in gritty detail, and her struggle to come clean and develop her potential-she's now an attorney with a leading California firm and a motivational speaker-ends her story on a high note. Booksellers, watch out-Cupcake's gonna sell like hotcakes. (On sale Feb. 28) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Brown is a survivor; she was born into a happy family with a loving mother and a father who, though he lived away from her, was very much a part of her life. She then discovered her mother dead, a victim of a seizure. The author is then taken away from the only family she has ever known and given to her biological father, who promptly puts her in the hands of a violent foster mother whose only desire is to cram her house with children and take their benefits. Brown decides to run away and ends up in a world of prostitution, alcohol, and drugs. After finding herself behind a dumpster, addicted to crack and alcohol, Brown finds a way to turn her life around. With the help of a new support system of friends and the family she had once lost, she becomes clean and sober and decides to go to college and become a lawyer. Listening to the story of how she juggled school and work and dealt with a world she never thought she could be part of is uplifting and inspirational. Bahni Turpin is a good reader, but her voice is a bit too immature for many sections of this book. For public libraries and those with collections on addiction and recovery. Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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