***Warning – Some may find this post upsetting***
I read this book a long time ago (not long after it was originally published) & it haunts me to this day. It is the chronicling of the last 2 months in the life of a beautiful 5-year old girl named Ursula Sunshine Assaid. Ursula was abused to death by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. She was made to march up and down the trailer they lived in reciting the alphabet – if she got it wrong or hesitated at all she was beaten and made to start again. Her killer would tie her to a tree outside in the yard for almost an entire day & if Ursula soiled herself she was made to march around the trailer with the dirty clothes on her head. She was denied sleep, food, water – all the basics in life (although the bastard who killed her was kind enough to feed her soap sandwiches – slivers of a bar of soap between 2 pieces of bread).
After Ursula had finally died at the hands of her torturer he hid her tiny body in a sail bag which he weighted down and threw into a drainage pond. Ursula’s mother did nothing to prevent this abuse, and as a result went to prison (although she was only sentenced to 15 years, of which she served 5). Donald McDougal was sentenced to 34 years in prison, but was subsequently murdered himself. (I’m not normally one for retribution, but in this case I would say he got what he deserved!)
Anyway, as I have said, this book has haunted me over the years & for the past few weeks especially so. I don’t know why it’s haunting me so much at the moment, but it is. Maybe I just needed to do what I am doing now – write about it, about Ursula, so that maybe someone out there will read the book, see something of a similar situation & do something about it. Ursula never stood a chance, but there had been signs that she was being abused & no one did anything to save her. I pray that heaven treats Ursula better than earth did!