Critical Essay- “a Piece of Cake”

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“How does the protagonist, Cupcake, change throughout the book due to the use of drugs?”

“A Piece of Cake. A Memoir” by Cupcake Brown is the harrowing autobiography of a young girl, deprived of her childhood by the death of her mother. Forced to grow up fast, the use of alcohol and drugs quickly became her refuge from the real world, spiralling her out of control. I have chosen 3 main characteristics: naivety, pleasantness, and self esteem to discuss and evaluate through plot and characterization.

At the start of this book, before Cupcake has her first encounter with drugs-the consumption of alcohol-the reader is told about the moments leading up to her finding her mother dead. Cupcake also adds in snippets of information about her family and lifestyle as she was growing up which give the reader more background information and helps create more of a “relationship” between them and Cupcake . These first eight pages of the book are the only times the reader gets a glimpse of Cupcake ’s true “normal” self before her life starts a downward spiral.

Unlike what Cupcake becomes when she is “using”, as a child she is friendly and willing to socialise with other people, “I was going round to Daddy’s house to play with Kelly, the daughter of his lady friend”, illustrating that she is doing it out of choice, i.e. without being forced to, which suggests that she is happy to have friends and enjoys the company.

Like any other child of her age Cupcake is naive, but she soon becomes a lot more knowledgeable on “streetwise” matters. For example, “Daddy did have a lady friend, Lori-but to me, she was just that: his friend.”, tells us that before she started living on the streets, due to drug abuse, she was unaware of the different kinds of relationships grown ups, and indeed teenagers, can be a part of.

Along with these positive characteristics Cupcake had as a young girl, she nevertheless had low self-esteem about her own appearance. The statement “when I...
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