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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Emily

 

What are your thoughts about Emily? What do her struggles to take care of her sister and to have a career on Broadway reveal about her true nature? What about her relationship with Curtis?

 

How would you characterize Emily's evolution from struggling actress to married doctor?

Frequent Contributor
Litfan
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Emily

I found Emily to be an interesting character-- she lived a much more modest lifestyle than

the other characters, but never seemed to gripe about it.  I felt for her in the situation with

Clara, and at the same time I wanted to see her set some firm boundaries as I felt Clara

walked all over her initially.  Same with Curtis.  It seemed her relationship with her husband

allowed her to feel better about herself and set some healthier boundaries with others 

rather than enabling them as she seemed to do earlier in the story.

Contributor
LA-Rose
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-26-2008
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Re: Emily

To be able to acheive a lifelong goal is important; however it is just as important to have dreams and goals for the process of acheiving them, even if that process leads one to alter those goals. Emily's dream of being a Broadway actress is important to her. She attempts to take care of her mentally unstable sister, while working a night job, and continuing her search for a role on Broadway, which shows her tenacity and perseverance. Additionally, it illustrates how she is coming of age, as she does not necessarily want to take care of her sister, but she does so in the best interest of this person that she loves. Emily understands reality and knows that her goals must change in order for her to persevere, just as she knows that her relationship with Curtis must come to a close. She is able to accept responisbility for her sister and alter her career and romantic situation for the best. Ultimately, the doctor who falls in love with Emily allows her to be loved the way that she loves her sister and had possibly loved Curtis. I was glad for Emily when she met the right man for her, who gave her back the love that she was so apt to display to those who needed it most.
"If you are forgotten, it is as if you have never lived. So, you must make yourself remembered: write a legacy." -L.A. Rose
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JesO
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
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Re: Emily

I feel as though Emily was the most relatable character in the book. When her family needed her, she step in. After trying to follow her dream for years, she decided to try for something else. Emily is an excellent character for someone in her 20's, whose still trying to figure exactly where she fits in life, to read about.
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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Emily

I think Emily was an excellent character. As young as she was she took  up the the responsiblity of taking care of her sister. That is commendable on her part because her parents no longer wanted to take care.  Clara has a wonderful sister becasue most people would let someone else do the job. Her realtionshop with Curtis  was a new experience for her. I think they were good for each other. He wanted save her from a bad realtionship and she needed someone in her life. Curtis gained her respect and love by helping her with Clara in her medical needs. I think her sister's need was more important than a failing acting career.
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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Emily

I didn't see Emily struggle to have a career on Broadway, except that she worked in jobs that allowed her time to audition for parts.  She seemed to want to be successful, but didn't know how to fight for what she wanted.  The same thing happened with Clara.  Her parents couldn't deal with Clara, so the handed off their responsibilty to Emily, and Emily didn't know how to say no or deal with the consequences.  

 

I don't imagine that Emily deals very well with conflict, she sits back and lets things happen to her.  Emily tries to help Clara and then can't follow through with what the doctor tells her she needs to do.  Then she hides from him rather than face him.

 

 

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Emily

Emily seemed destined for unhappiness when I left her in chapter 11. However, she agreed to take on her sister Clara and that is a noble effort. I always believed that "we are our brother's keeper."
I took care of a twin for several years when he was homeless. It was a difficult time for my entire family and it caused tremendous disruption. He was totally dysfunctional, at the time and he stole my bank card, money and car which he subsequently practially destroyed, arguing that when you are desperate you are allowed to do anything. Eventually, after surgery for two brain tumors and lung cancer, he miraculously survived and became my brother again. Perhaps it was his illness that caused his erratic behavior. Today he lives a simple life with a wondeful partner and they are very happy. I would do it for him again so I hope that Emily is successful in this endeavor with her sister and finds satisfaction in her life. I will read on and find out.

twj


KxBurns wrote:
 

What are your thoughts about Emily? What do her struggles to take care of her sister and to have a career on Broadway reveal about her true nature? What about her relationship with Curtis?

 

How would you characterize Emily's evolution from struggling actress to married doctor?


 

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Emily

When Emily was first introduced to us I thought she was the airhead of the group believing that stardom was right worth the fight, but as I got to know her better through her relationships with both Curtis and Clara I found her really down to earth and I have to give her a lot of respect to take in Clara when even her parents had washed their hands of her, she took her in even knowing that Clara harbored a resentment toward her and had for a long time. Maybe being a struggling actress for so long gave her that I can't fail attitude that she took on. I'm glad she and Curtis were no longer together I think he stifled her with his stardom over hers, besides that I still can't decide if I like him in regards to his relationship with his ex-wife or if I feel sorry for him, he obviously never got over her and to take her back knowing she was pregnant by someone else.

I call Emily's transformation nothing less than an amazing metamorphosis and I thank Dr. Gitter for that because he truly believed in her and that made her believe in herself. Sometimes it takes us all a few of the wrong ones before the right one comes along. 

Frequent Contributor
Dances_through_Books
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Emily

I enjoy Emily's character best of all. She is smart, determined, responsible(lives within her means, unlike her friends who live above their means and get help from their parents), and has a great heart.  She cares for other people, while wanting to pursue her career aspirations.  In a way, her sister's struggles allow Emily to let go of her dream of Broadway, to find the career she was meant for. I believe she is all the happier because of what happened.  She is a character to be admired.

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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Emily


Tarri wrote:

I didn't see Emily struggle to have a career on Broadway, except that she worked in jobs that allowed her time to audition for parts.  She seemed to want to be successful, but didn't know how to fight for what she wanted.  The same thing happened with Clara.  Her parents couldn't deal with Clara, so the handed off their responsibilty to Emily, and Emily didn't know how to say no or deal with the consequences.  

 

I don't imagine that Emily deals very well with conflict, she sits back and lets things happen to her.  Emily tries to help Clara and then can't follow through with what the doctor tells her she needs to do.  Then she hides from him rather than face him.

 


There were some details about how much time Emily spent doing various things related to her acting career -- taking voice lessons and staying in shape. Although, she did let some of these things go once she thought the play moving to Broadway (with her in it) was a sure thing. I think this was imporant to Emily's character because she realized how liberating it was to be able to sit and eat lunch instead of running someplace or another chasing her acting career. To me, it wasn't so much that she still wanted to be an actress but wasn't willing to fight for it, but that she started to realize that all her efforts were going toward an unrealistic goal.

 

I'm not sure I would characterize Emily's parents as handing off their responsibility toward Clara to Emily. It sounded to me like they were emotionally and financially drained and they just needed to try a different option. Emily was in pretty close contact with her mother about Clara's progress. I thought it seemed like a pretty sympathetic depiction of the difficulty of caring for a family member with a chronic mental illness.

 

Emily does choke when it comes to taking the next steps toward helping Clara. Why do you think she can't face the decision to have Clara hospitalized, and thus is unable to face the doctor?

Wordsmith
Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Emily


KxBurns wrote:

[snipped]

 

 


[edited because you are right about Emily and her acting career]

 

I'm not sure I would characterize Emily's parents as handing off their responsibility toward Clara to Emily. It sounded to me like they were emotionally and financially drained and they just needed to try a different option. Emily was in pretty close contact with her mother about Clara's progress. I thought it seemed like a pretty sympathetic depiction of the difficulty of caring for a family member with a chronic mental illness.

 

Emily does choke when it comes to taking the next steps toward helping Clara. Why do you think she can't face the decision to have Clara hospitalized, and thus is unable to face the doctor?


Karen, for me Emily's inability to take the next steps when trying to help Clara comes down to Emily avoiding conflict, also I think Emily wants everyone to like her.   

 

Emily was in her mid 20s and her parents were in their 50s or 60s.  I feel sympathy for anyone who has to deal with someone they love who has a mental illness, but the parents shouldn't burden their children.  I understand that they were financially and emotionally drained, and I'm sure I would be too, but their actions were unacceptable in my opinion.  [Yes, I know they are fictional parents :-) ]. 

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BDonnelly
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎04-22-2008
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Re: Emily

Emily was one of my favorite characters.  She wanted to do the right thing with everyone instead of herself which shows some immaturity.  But she also does seem to learn even if it's just a little bit.  What I didn't like was her doctor husband coming in and then everything got better.  That seemed to be a theme in the book where a man came into each of the girl's lives and their own maturation seems to have halted.  I couldn't tell whether the author was showing how married life can be smoother (if not easier) or that the girls each got lost in their husbands or if it was my own thing.  Anyone else?
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krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Emily


KxBurns wrote:

[snip]

 

I'm not sure I would characterize Emily's parents as handing off their responsibility toward Clara to Emily. It sounded to me like they were emotionally and financially drained and they just needed to try a different option. Emily was in pretty close contact with her mother about Clara's progress. I thought it seemed like a pretty sympathetic depiction of the difficulty of caring for a family member with a chronic mental illness.

 

Emily does choke when it comes to taking the next steps toward helping Clara. Why do you think she can't face the decision to have Clara hospitalized, and thus is unable to face the doctor?


My gut reaction was that it was pretty lousy of Emily's parents to hand Clara off to Emily. After more thought, I understand the stress that Clara must have been putting on them, so I understand why Emily agrees to take her in. I still think her parents could/should have been more communicative during the process. 

 

In terms of Emily not facing the decision to have Clara hospitalized, I think it comes down to three things. First, the comments that both Tarri and BDonnelly made about Emily not liking conflict/wanting everyone to like her are right, I think, and part of Emily's reluctance. Second, I think that Emily hasn't had the sort of medical details from her parents about Clara's treatment that would help her make the best decisions about Clara's treatment. Finally, I think there are real cultural stigmas that lots of people would have to get over when dealing with mental illness: if Emily doesn't put Clara in an inpatient program, then she can more easily think of Clara as getting better. The reputations of mental hospitals from earlier generations doesn't help, either (I'm thinking of the kind of place in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or the type of place that would lobotomize first, ask questions later).

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debbook
Posts: 1,823
Registered: ‎05-03-2008
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Re: Emily

Yes I felt exactly that. The way Emily's life has just gone down hill and then in pops this doctor she barely knows and he proposes to her! I think that feeds into a woman's rescue fantasy, when it just doesn't work that way. That constant theme seemed to be what kept me from seeing this book as a potentially serious read to more on par with "chick lit".

BDonnelly wrote:
Emily was one of my favorite characters.  She wanted to do the right thing with everyone instead of herself which shows some immaturity.  But she also does seem to learn even if it's just a little bit.  What I didn't like was her doctor husband coming in and then everything got better.  That seemed to be a theme in the book where a man came into each of the girl's lives and their own maturation seems to have halted.  I couldn't tell whether the author was showing how married life can be smoother (if not easier) or that the girls each got lost in their husbands or if it was my own thing.  Anyone else?

 

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
"bookmagic418.blogspot.com
Inspired Contributor
Popper19
Posts: 199
Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: Emily

Emily was probably my favorite character.  I respected her the most, especially with taking her sister in.  Her decision to become a doctor surprised me, but I was glad for her, she seemed truly happy.  The marriage to her sister's doctor seemed far-fetched to me at first, but Emily said some things that made me think she knew the doctor better than we thought, she just didn't "notice" him before. 
Inspired Correspondent
nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: Emily

Emily was my favorite character, the only one I could relate to. She seemed like a very responsible and decent human being. Her struggle to take care of her sister was very poignant. I couldn't help but root for her. I wish the other characters had been as likeable, or at least as understandable. The others turned my off. They were so self-centered. I can't say I enjoyed reading about them.
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chris227
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Emily

I agree.  Emily took on a huge responsibility when she agreed to let Clara live with her. Her friends who were so 'grown-up' (being married and pregnant) thought that she was crazy but Emily still went ahead and looked after her sister even taking in a second job to support her.  I felt bad for Emily because she didn't have any support herslef.  Her parents were too worn out from their years of taking care of Clara and her friends just didn't understand her devotion to her sister. Emily knew deep down that Clara needed more help but I think she didn't want to admit it because she felt it would have been yet another failure on her part.  I'm glad she met Josh and married him (though I was totally shocked by the whole thing).  I think he really grounded Emily and made her realize her true potential.  She was so great in caring for her sister I think that becoming a doctor is great for!
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Guerneymember12
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-21-2008
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Re: Emily

I wanted Emily to say yes to the proposal so she would be taken care of and would not have to work so hard, but at the same time, I'm thinking he was so annoying when he visited her at her house about her sister.  He was so overbearing and annoying when she walked him to the subway.  He was so annoying whenever they discussed the sister.  that's NEVER going to change.  Emily was also overwhelmed and burdened by his questions and felt pressured into doing things she didn't feel were appropriate.  it will only get worse when they are married.  How many more strange things can happen in this book.  This has to be it?????
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Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
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Re: Emily

Emily was my favorite character.  I think she was the most mature member of the group, in that she did what needed to be done, regardless of how it affected her personal desires.  She worked hard, didn't rely on other people financially and was willing to make sacrifices.  I sympathized when things were tough for her and was happy when her "knight in shining armor" appeared and made life better for her, though I did feel that the "proposal scene" was not very realistic.  I didn't care, though, I was so glad to have things work out well for Emily!

 

Joan

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EJD0626
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-13-2008
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Re: Emily

Emily was my favorite characer. I think she wasn't successful in Broadway, because she wasn't a huge fighter. She did seem somewhat complacent and not at all confrontational. I would never have taken in a mentally ill relative and worked so hard to support her, especially since Clara was stealing cash from Emily.

I think Emily was the most down to earth of her friends. Nothing came easy for her like it did everyone else, and I really liked that about her.