Lippman says the one who contains the most self-satire is Eliza's older sister, Vonnie, who is frank and cosmopolitan but also insensitive and opinionated. "That's me having fun with myself, as a sister who's so self-important and so histrionic, and everything that happens to her is so huge. Eliza is not at all like me. I always saw her as quietly heroic. She has acquired strength. … The incredible sadness of her life is that she hasn't let anyone else in since she was 15 years old."