As the book progresses, I have to pause when I think of how each character "looks" as opposed to how they "are." In other words, we so often think that we know people but unless we dig down and really try to understand them - we probably don't know them at all. So much of their life experiences are not shared with us, they are buried deep or saved for a choice few. Unfortunately, some people never chose to share their fears or horrific experiences, they bury them and unfortunately manifest themselves in unhealthy ways.
You won't be able to find Emily unless you look beneath her sweet exterior. There are clues, some subtle and some not-so-subtle. If suffering breeds character, it probably will with Emily. Some characters in the book chose to take a deviant path to the maladies of their lives; their mind goes in that direction for reasons that are not easily understood. Unfortunately, their sociopathic behavior crashes into innocent lives and changes the course of the innocent - forever.
As an interesting side-note, I recently had the opportunity to confront someone that I know about their bullying. I sat down and really took the time to understand this person, and where this bully-behavior comes from. Among other questions, I asked this person to name five times that someone said something that hurt his feelings. After some thought, he couldn't think of one time. If there really is a "Rockwell Childhood," this person probably scored one. We talked for hours, and as hard as I looked, I found no trauma that would cause him to bully and judge others. The only sure-thing that I was left with was a "lack of empathy." He lacked empathy because somehow he skated his way through life without the emotional pain that would lend itself to understanding the pain of others. This was a surprise to me, as someone that always looks for "cause and effect." In this case, there was no obvious cause, but the result was a lack of empathy toward others - which probably accounted for the bully-behavior. I haven't let go of the belief that there is something deeper hiding there, I just haven't been able to find it. Maybe it really isn't there.
At any rate, this is Emily's journey and how she responds to the horrors that befall her. I wonder how many Emilys are out there - and whether their response to the horrors of life is rooted in DNA or if it something much more mysterious? Are some of the people that enter her life simply lacking in empathy because they have not experienced pain? I still struggle with that possibility. What do you think?