Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
From abused foster child to addicted prostitute to attorney-Brown has quite a story to tell. With a seven-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Brown reads her own horrific memoir of childhood paradise lost, sexual degradation and drug-fueled bad times with a surprising twinkle in her eye. Having made it through to the other side and a stable life, Brown revisits the ugliest places in her past, her matter-of-fact voice refusing to shy away from any of the brutal details. Brown does not milk her story for sympathy (although that is implicit in its very telling); she merely chronicles its twists and turns, its tragic losses and terrible indignities, choosing to honor her past by exposing it in its entirety. Brown's voice is measured and wry, exposing the foibles of her own stunted good sense at the same time as she documents the heinous callousness of the adults who by turns mistreat and neglect her after the untimely death of her mother. Her reading lacks something in emotion and professionalism, but its no-nonsense quality is the mark of an unhurried, self-taught storyteller. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 21, 2005). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Cupcake (La'Vette) Brown went from the relative security of life in a working-class neighborhood of San Diego to hardship and uncertainty when, at the age of 11, her mother died. Her estranged biological father lost interest when an expected insurance payout didn't materialize, and Cupcake and her brother were left with a merciless foster mother and her abusive son. Unable to take the mistreatment, Cupcake drifted into a life of prostitution, drug addiction, gang affiliation, stealing, homelessness, and any available means of survival. Her salvation comes in an unlikely group of fellow addicts who encourage her to change. Brown takes the same fortitude it took to survive the streets and uses it to become a lawyer. Her story of survival and triumph is incredible and often rough. Readers who like gritty, urban nonfiction will enjoy this book. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2006 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Harrowing, earnest autobiography takes readers on a tour from incomprehensible evil through unexpected kindness to eventual triumph. Brown's story begins in January 1976, when, at age 11, she discovered the body of her mother, dead from a seizure, on the bedroom floor of their home in a San Diego ghetto. Everything plunged downhill from there, as Brown relates in a narrative couched in street slang interspersed with interior monologues (literary devices that the author at times fails to pull off). On her second night in a foster home, Brown was raped on the bathroom floor. She was routinely abused by her sadistic foster mother, yet no matter how many times she escaped, the perversely ineffectual legal system insisted on returning her to her tormentor. She discovered a sense of family in the notorious Crips street gang, but after she was temporarily paralyzed at age 15 as the result of a drive-by shooting, Brown gave up "banging." That didn't much slow her descent into extreme drug abuse, serial abortions and domestic violence. At 25, Brown woke up behind a Dumpster and embarked on a period of detox and recovery. The chapters describing this metamorphosis are delivered in the hosanna-drenched, homily-sprinkled style common among 12-steppers, who never seem to hold God responsible for their travails but invariably credit Him with their salvation. Today the erstwhile child prostitute and crack addict is an attorney for a major national law firm. Brown's relentless litany of crimes and cruelties tests readers' endurance and at times makes it impossible to empathize with her younger self. Yet her life's amazing outcome goes a long way to justify her appealingly inspirational conclusion that maybe anything is possible. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.