D'Arcy's dad is dead. She desperately wants it to have been an accident, but she is not sure. And when she learns the truth, things become even more difficult. Why would her father choose suicide? Why didn't she see the signs? Her father had always helped her get through everything in her life -- five minutes at a time. Can she do it alone? And then she meets Seth. When will things get back to normal? Learning to live without her father while her mother struggles with her own pain, D'Arcy finds an inner strength ...
D'Arcy's dad is dead. She desperately wants it to have been an accident, but she is not sure. And when she learns the truth, things become even more difficult. Why would her father choose suicide? Why didn't she see the signs? Her father had always helped her get through everything in her life -- five minutes at a time. Can she do it alone? And then she meets Seth. When will things get back to normal? Learning to live without her father while her mother struggles with her own pain, D'Arcy finds an inner strength she wasn't aware of. She also finds that almost anything is tolerable for five minutes more.
Not only was the premise melancholy, but the whole book was absolutely disheartening. It deals with the very serious issue of suicide, and the effects it has on everyone in your life. I can't say Five Minutes More shows an accurate portrayal of the effects of suicide and what leads people to attempt it. But I can say that this book is well written and for a mature audience because of the subject matter. Reviewer: Mair Luscombe, Teen Reviewer
- Betsy Fraser
D'Arcy Ryan gets through difficult times by playing a game invented by her father. She has more than enough opportunities to practice this game, which helps her tolerate "anything for five minutes." The book opens as her family is arranging her father's funeral. D'Arcy is surrounded by drama and despair: the police are questioning why her father's car went into the river, the arrival of a perfect and disliked older half-sister is followed by the disposition of her father's things to her dreaded half-sister, and her own depression is mirrored by the increasing despondency of a school friend with his own family history of suicide. D'Arcy is presented as a fully-rounded teenager. Although she would much rather have her father back, she must come to terms with the fact that her father, having been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), could not face living with the repercussions of the disease. Her investigations into ALS and suicide also allow her to progress to the point where she is able to understand what was happening with her friend Seth. As with her previous book Saving Grace (Orca, 2006/VOYA February 2007), Ryan presents teenagers living with devastating emotional situations, although in a longer, more complex presentation. Reviewer: Betsy Fraser
- Naomi Milliner
"I play the Five Minutes More game… I can stand anything for five minutes. Even my father being dead." So begins D'Arcy's haunted quest to understand, and possibly find peace with, her beloved dad's death. The story opens the day after he died and, in case this enormous shock and loss was not difficult enough, it appears he may have committed suicide. Although both her mother and much older half-sister seem to accept this without question, D'Arcy adamantly refuses to believe he died by his own hand, clinging instead to the loving times they shared. Despite efforts from her best friend and boyfriend to provide comfort, the only one who seems to understand her is Seth, an empathetic classmate. When D'Arcy learns that her father truly did kill himself—after discovering he had a cruel and incurable disease—her fragile world shatters: "Did he think we wouldn't love him like this? Or was it he didn't love us enough to face the wheelchair?" Although this poses a compelling question, the story begins to deteriorate along with its heroine. D'Arcy changes from a tremendously sympathetic, very real heroine, into an alcoholic truant who cheats on her boyfriend, fights with her mom and closest friend, and runs away from home after Seth tries to commit suicide, too. What starts as a powerful tale ends up a melodramatic mess lacking credibility. A disappointing Ordinary People wannabe. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
The trauma of her father's suicide sends D'Arcy into a physical and emotional tailspin. She learns that her father was diagnosed with ALS and drove his car off a bridge because of it. This revelation makes D'Arcy withdraw from her boyfriend and friends. At the same time, she begins to talk more with class geek Seth, whose later suicide attempt only fuels her depression. Told with an utter lack of focus, absence of personality and uninspired dialogue, this book is 12 problem novels crammed into one. It includes dalliances with homelessness, superficial explorations of grief and romance, family fighting and brief interludes with alcohol. All the secondary characters are flat stereotypes: the wise and worrying mother, the jock boyfriend and his jock friends, the evil stepsister. To add to the overall poor quality of the book, the author's note reads, "ALS . . . also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, attacks nerve cells in the brain . . . There is no known cure. Suicide has been called a permanent solution to a temporary problem." This implies that ALS is a temporary problem, not an incurable disease. (Fiction. YA)
"A novel that resonates with complex and realistic characters who exhibit a wide range of emotions...Authentic characters, real passions surrounding both death and life and an interesting plot which revolves around the difficult yet not uncommon issue of suicide: young adult fiction doesn't get much better than this. Highly Recommended."
A Patchwork of Books blog
"[A] heart-breaking book...but sometimes sadness is necessary in life... it's a process we all go through and it yearns to be written about...The emotional aspect of this was perfect."
Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"A very realistic, engaging story. D'Arcy's emotions come flowing through the pages to the reader...The story would offer hope and help to anyone who has lost someone to death - not just suicide. I highly recommend it for the high school library."
"[D'Arcy's] discovery of herself as a daughter, friend and person ensues throughout the novel as D'Arcy overcomes numerous obstacles in a journey to find inner strength."
Canadian Teacher Magazine
"Ryan treats this sensitive topic with care and understanding…Readers will readily identify with D'Arcy's emotional turmoil…The imaginative experience of the novel will help them appreciate the meaning of suicide and the ways one can cope with it."
Darlene Ryan has been writing for as long as she can remember, although she pursued post-secondary degrees in biology and education. Despite being endlessly fascinated by theories on the origin of the universe, she decided she wasn't cut out to be a scientist and returned to writing. Darlene was the 2006 poet recipient of the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award. As Sofie Kelly, she writes the best-selling Magical Cats mysteries. She lives with her family in Fredericton, New Brunswick. More information is available at darleneryan.com.
Every hand I shake, I look into the person's face and wonder what they know. It didn't say in the announcement in the paper. Maybe they think my dad had a heart attack while he was driving. I don't want anyone to know. Because it's not like we really know for sure. I don't want people talking about him and thinking he did something when nobody knows for sure that he did.