Last night I went to sleep late. That’s actually not worth mentioning since I stay up late all the damned time anyway. But, this time it wasn’t because I was watching fail videos on Instagram, or trying to find a good DIY project for all the wine bottles I have at home. I stayed up late because I couldn’t put down Cupcake Brown’s memoir A Piece of Cake.
I picked up this book only having read the back of it and I thought: why not? I kept putting it off and finally I read it.
Maybe universal powers are playing a role in the stories I come across because there is a theme at play. These stories are of people that have had fucked up lives. Not because they chose to, but because … I don’t know, they just do. But despite those obstacles they have come out alive and stronger and able to touch lives. I would really like to get into what I’m saying, but this is a book review.
La’Vette is the name on the birth certificate (I’m sure it’s legally changed now) but Cupcake is the name of choice. According to Cupcake that’s the name her mother gave to the nurse after being asked what the baby will be named. It’s the sweetest story. But, when her biological father, whom she refers to as Sperm Donor heard of it he immediately changed it to La’Vette.
Cupcake, at the age of eleven found her mother dead in her bedroom. That’s the day it all changed. She recalls not one family member offering to watch over her or her brother, Larry. During that time she found out that her Daddy wasn’t her daddy; she had a biological father. With the intent of coming up on their trust fund money Sperm Donor reached out to take his children. After finding out that the money was under the guardianship of Cupcake’s uncle, Jr. and with age stipulations, Sperm Donor had a change of heart. As much as her Daddy and Jr. begged to take the children the court wasn’t able to release the children from the biological father. Jr. lived alone and her Daddy obviously had no blood relation.
Shortly after the car ride to Sperm Donor’s house, without even stepping inside he transferred them over to Diane, a foster parent. Enduring physical, verbal, sexual, and emotional abuse she decided to run away. During this escape she came across Candy, a prostitute who offered her weed and showed her how to get a quick money (turning a trick). From the age of eleven to twenty-seven she turned tricks, had “business partners/arrangements”, sold furniture and appliances to buy booze, weed, crack, pills. She partied, drugged, drank. She moved from house to house, faced eviction, joined a gang, got shot, banged, and made friends, lost friends. She lied, cheated, stole. She wronged and eventually did right. These experiences, however, led her to have very strong opinions on men, judges, “the system”, police, friends, and family. I don’t blame her. She didn’t have the chance to be a child and have a childhood. She was robbed and survived to tell of it all. She hit rock bottom.
After making the decision to make a change she went through a rehab program and the 12-step program of AA. That’s where she met her Sponsor, Venita (aka V). She relapsed with alcohol. She struggled and fought urges. She cut people out of her life and allowed new ones in. She started school, dedicatated herself to it and made it out on top as a lawyer.
Cupcake’s story is uplifting and impactful. It showed me the road that I’m glad I never had to travel, or even had to come across. It gave me appreciation for my childhood and my life. It gave me another insight into humanity: the good and the horrible.
I am so happy to have read her story. I cried throughout the book because it pained me to imagine that there might be (and most likely) a little girl out there being robbed of her childhood because the system mishandled a case, a little girl being taken advantage of because of her innocence and vulnerability, a child being told she’s worth nothing, a child being starved, beaten, forced into drugs and alcohol because they don’t know any better.