Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Book Reviews, New Brunswick | 0 comments

Five-Minutes-More Summary: After her father commits suicide, D’Arcy is left to deal with her anger and feelings of abandonment. She pushes away her friends and family, but accepts the lifeline thrown to her by Seth, a fellow student at school. Both are grieving the sudden loss of loved ones, and find some solace in their shared experiences. As the pressure builds for both at home, their resulting actions will push them to the brink, but just might bring them back as well.

Number of Pages: 212

Age Range: 15-17

Review: D’Arcy is an impulsive, grieving teen that Darlene Ryan captures with electric scenes showcasing her emotions. Her righteous anger and confusion over her father’s suicide is justified and understandable, but it is backed by a plot that feels sensationalistic and lacks the depth needed to support such serious themes.

I was left wondering whether Seth’s brother’s death was an actual suicide with intention or an unintentional gun accident because it wasn’t clear. Also, by the end of the novel with Ryan’s constant reminders of watching for the signs of suicidal behaviour, I am now afraid to receive a personal gift from a loved one.

Okay, I am overstating a bit, but my point is that by the time I reached the end of the book, I was overwhelmed by Ryan’s story choices. The book begins with a lovely reflection on D’Arcy’s part about her father helping her through challenging life situations by asking her to just give it five minutes more, but Ryan never has D’Arcy realise that her father didn’t take his own advice.

I did appreciate though that in the end, all of the people D’Arcy had pushed away came after her because they truly cared about her. I only hope that her experiences lead her to realise that she can make different choices than her father did, and face her new life five minutes at a time.

Memorable Quotes:

“And all of a sudden I don’t see two strangers. I see my father in that chair and myself crouched on the floor, wiping his chin.

Did her think we wouldn’t love him like this? Or…or was it that he didn’t love us enough to face the wheelchair and the drooling?” – D’Arcy from Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan, page 85

“‘I know you’re upset. I understand now.’

‘No, you don’t.’ Did I say that out loud? ‘I’m sick of people saying they understand when there’s no way they can.’

She draws in a shaky breath. ‘I want to help.’

I smack the screen with both hands. She jumps.

‘Stop,’ I shout. ‘Doesn’t anyone hear me when I am talking? You. Don’t. Understand.’ I spit each word at her. She winces. ‘You don’t know how I feel. You can’t help me.’

Her eyes fill with tears. A couple slide down her cheek. ‘Just let me come in,’ she pleads. ‘Just…just talk to me. Please, D’Arcy.’

I put my hands over my ears and shake my head hard. ‘I don’t want to talk.’ I want to scream at her, but if I do I might never stop. I suck in my top lip and bite it hard before I open my eyes. ‘You can’t understand. So leave me alone.'” – conversation between Marissa and D’Arcy from Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan, page 158

“‘D’Arcy,’ Mom says. She tries to put her arms around me but I push her away hard. She stumbles against the side of the kitchen table. ‘Listen to me,’ she starts.

But I talk right over her. I am full up to the back of my throat, full of words and feelings that I’ve swallowed, and now there isn’t enugh space left inside to hold it all. I am vomiting words.” – conversation between D’Arcy and her mother from Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan, page 161

“‘I know it’s been hard since your dad..died. But I thought by now things would be getting back to normal.’

‘I don’t know what normal is anymore.’ That’s the truth. ‘I feel like this is all I’ll ever be. I’ve been waiting to be normal again.’ I laugh and get to my feet. ‘Waiting for normal. I don’t even know what that is.'” – conversation between Brendan and D’Arcy from Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan, page 177

Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan is published by Orca Book Publishers (2009).
(Buy this book: Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Booksellers)

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