Thursday, April 23, 2015

10 Things to Love about Emily.

Black Eyed Boy is written through the eyes of Emily. We see and feel all that she does. I’m immensely fond of her. For a while, it is time to budge the boy out of the way and celebrate what I love about the girl.

Her strength. Emily rarely sees this amazing trait in herself, but she is an extremely strong character, even at her lowest. She isn’t afraid to stand up to people or speak the truth.

There was a round of elbowing, pointing and whispering as I arrived at school. Nobody came forward and spoke to me; not even Billy, who turned his back as soon as he saw us coming. I felt crazy being there. I expected to fail miserably at this exam, but it was all I could do for Mum now. I’d promised her that I would take them, and so I somehow tore myself away from Dylan and I ventured into the hall. The teachers stared, shocked that I was there. They all, in turn, sent sympathetic smiles to me across the room. I couldn’t make my face give one back, so I just lowered my head and willed myself to get on with it.

She isn’t perfect. Because nobody is, right? Despite her many positive personality traits, sometimes she messes up as we all do. She tends to learn from her mistakes, but it doesn’t stop her from making them in the first place. She’s fiction, yet somehow quite real.

“I’ve got to do it at some point. I know what I’m like, things get harder if I put them off,” I said, thinking about hiding my relationship with Dylan from Billy, trying to spare his feelings – and how that had seriously backfired.

She’s a deep thinker. There is no room for a vacuous leading character in my books. Emily questions everything. She can be a sensitive girl, often deep in thought, and prone to over-analysing situations. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wondered why they were unable to grieve together, support each other, clasp hands and talk about him. Seventeen years had gone by since baby Matthew died, and they still couldn’t do it. I thought that was so sad, the way they had both retreated like wounded animals, and they still couldn’t face the hurt and deal with it together.

She sticks to her word. Emily keeps important promises and is someone you can rely on.

“You may be right. You’ll have to wait and see, I suppose. I want you to go and do your exams. Do you promise me that you will?” “I promise,” I said, wondering how on earth I would manage to get through that once she had gone.

Her maturity. Yes, she is largely inexperienced and sometimes naïve but she has a much older head on her shoulders most of the time, though I suppose this is the way that she has to be.

So, this would be my last night, to do whatever I wanted to do, before things changed and I became Mum’s carer. Normally my plans revolved around Billy, but I didn’t much feel like seeing him. But, then again, I didn’t really want to sit around here studiously avoiding Dad. I would have to go out. And it would have to be something without cost, seeing as I’d spent most of the housekeeping money in the supermarket today. It felt like the end of an era, perhaps the end of my childhood. Life would be so much more difficult and sombre now. I was aware that dark moments were ahead.

Her warmth. Emily could have gone the other way after a lifetime living in a largely loveless house. She has a determination to be different and change things for herself.

I gave her a kiss on her cheek which seemed to surprise the pair of us, and I’m certain that we both felt sorry that our relationship had never been affectionate and tactile.

She’s protective. If she loves you, she will fight for you and give you everything that she possibly can.

The days rolled by. Mum slept a lot and stopped trying to eat at all. Dad drank. I pined for Dylan and missed Billy too. Amber came and went, staying for a little longer each time as Mum’s condition worsened and she could no longer support herself. She had regular fits of choking, her breathing had become arduous, and I knew that I would soon have to steel myself for the moment I dreaded. I spent every day and night in the spare room with her. I felt suffocated by the silence, as she rarely spoke now; words had become too tiresome a task.  

She has the most beautiful red hair, even if she doesn’t always appreciate that.

“As do you, and beautiful hair,” he said, stroking it. “Now you must be joking,” I snorted. “Who wants to be a ginger?” “But red hair is the best. You remind me of a fox with your red hair and your green eyes.”

She’s funny. I love her quips and occasional sarcastic tones. She’s quick and feisty.

“We’re not leaving until I win that ring,” he said, pointing to a cheap-looking plastic ring with a butterfly attached. “I can see why you want it so badly,” I mocked him, “it’s an intricate piece, it will look so pretty on you.” “Ouch at the sarcasm. It’s for you. Not that you deserve it now, of course.” “For me? I am honoured and touched and I will wear it forever,” I said, dramatically clutching my hand to my heart and fluttering my eyelashes.

She is open and ready for love. She’s had so little in her life that I relish seeing her surprised by both the simple and complex sides of the romance coin. 

My eyes adjusted to the light and I saw Dylan. He didn’t let go of my hand or say a word at all; we just kept on walking and caught up with the others. I liked the feel of his hands, coarser and rougher than mine. I stood closer to him, taking in his intoxicating aroma, and I felt different. Something had happened to me. Something had changed me. And I welcomed it.

If you still haven't met Emily, here is the link to the book:

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