LoveSick Erica Character Analysis
Erica is one of the main characters in LoveSick by Jake Coburn. She is a freshman in college; the daughter of a very wealthy father who is overprotective of her. She is also bulimic. This worries her father, who, in LoveSick, hires Ted, a former basketball player whose hopes and scholarship for college basketball, vanished in a drunk driving accident. Ted is supposed to spy on Erica in her freshman year, in return for a free ride through college. The two find themselves at a snooty private college where, the only real friends they make, are each other.
Erica does not fare well the first time "alone" from her overprotective father, whose protection she despises. Erica's father is a rich man. He shows great concern for Erica, but is not around her much. Although, it's not clearly mentioned, Erica was probably well cared for in her childhood. However, not by her father, but be people he hired. Thus, Erica was always well looked after, probably even too well, but she didn't have access to the love of her father. Erica's father thinks he can solve the problem by throwing money at it; for example Erica says, "my father controls people/things/life with money because that's all he knows" (Coburn 212). This could have possibly lead Erica to turn towards an addiction in order to try and straighten out her life. She may have even gone out of her way, so that she should defy her father, whom she calls "The Ferret" (Coburn 159). The addiction could have started out, as doing something which he ca not control, in order to rub it in what a poor father he was to her. Because he restricts her so much, Erica feels a great need to defy her father. By not playing a closer role in Erica's childhood, Erica's father created Erica's role in LoveSick a situation he tried to avoid.
So, possibly because of her father, Erica suffers from Bulimia. Bulimia is an eating disorder where Erica eats too much food and then throws it up. It is dangerous to her life because she must hide it, not wanting others to know about it. This makes her withdraw from being around people. Bulimia is also dangerous to the body. It can cause gastrointestinal problems and damage to the teeth because of the acidic nature of the regurgitated food (Encarta).
Ted is the boy Erica's father hired to spy on Erica. Erica is able to bond with Ted because he too is fighting an addiction while trying to hide it. Both do not fit in well with the other people at the collage. Ted is often at odds with his regularly drunk roommate, James. Ted and Erica live only a few doors away from each other and visit each other often. They develop a connection and a friendship. One thing Ted does to help Erica is that he brings her to his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. This plants the seed in Erica's mind to consider checking into a rehab center, later in the book.
End of the Book
As the book progresses, Erica and Ted fall in love and kiss. Ted then realizes that he does not wish to continue spying on his girlfriend. He quits his spying job and also drinks a lot of alcohol, which he knows he shouldn't because that is what got him into this situation in the first place. While he is drunk, he also tells Erica that he was hired to spy on her by her father. This makes Erica very angry, because her only friend turned out to be working for he father and the world she hates so much. She borrows a car from a friend and leaves collage in a huff to go to New York City. In New York, she checks into rehab, to try and get her life back on track.
Ted and Erica then reconcile their feelings for each other. Eventually they understand how their lives are shaped by trying to overcome their respective addictions. They kiss and make up, as well as decide to travel the world, instead of returning to collage. Erica's father realizes that strict supervision is not what his daughter needs.
- "Bulimia." Encarta. Microsoft. 19 Aug 2007 <http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761574868/Bulimia.html>.
- Coburn, Jack. LoveSick. New York: Dutton, 2005.