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Burning the Mattress is the life of a woman as a child growing up in Hopeville, Arkansas. She lived in fear and torment of a beast that resided in her own household. The beast robs her of her innocence. Zye is told, “Sssh, because things like this just don’t happen in our town.” No one can help her; Zye’s childlike, mentally ill mother cannot help her daughter because of her abusive husband. Family secrets rob Zye of security that every child has a right to expect. Zye’s physical, emotional and spiritual journey leaves the reader wondering why she had to suffer so much pain and how she made it through.
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