Just Five Minutes With You, My Son is an unfeigned account of a mother’s internal struggle with grief in the aftermath of her son, Doron’s, sudden death. Within the first pages, Hanna Granot brings emotion to life before the readers eyes, immersing them in the reality a mother faces when losing a child.
This novel is a collection of stand alone, but cohesive, stories and poems that explore the emotionality in the niche of those affected by suicide, along with the journey to healing from devastating loss. Those on their own healing journey may take comfort in knowing they are not alone, which this work reinforces.
The stories traverse Doron’s past and relationship with his mother as he grows. With a wide variety of characters, Just Five Minutes With You, My Son continues to surprise with new perspectives on life and morality. The innocent joy and discovery within a child’s mind is interspersed with a mother’s wise reflection and desire to turn back time, which is incredibly relatable. I found myself seeing my own childhood in my mind’s eye as I read through Doron’s life as well as moments I wish I could change in my own life. Granot’s writing is easily digestible and quick-paced, awarding the reader freedom to ponder the message behind the passage. Along with retrospection, Hanna Granot provides the reader with genuine moments that reflect the not-so-admissible side of grief; the real internal struggle with depression and moving on. The real life examples of how the mother felt and acted were refreshing in that they described the ‘bad’ along with the ‘good’ that many who have experienced loss exhibit. This includes the guilt and helplessness in the face of a loved one’s suicide, along with the shattering of self one feels, as if life can no longer go on the way it has always done.
In addition, Granot incorporates speculative elements which prompt rumination on the afterlife and how close lost loved ones actually are. The inclusion of various cultural influences with a focus on Judaism showed depth to the faith and spirituality explored in this novel. Along with real-world happenings, there is a fantastical journey through the afterlife for redemption and discovery. Finally, amidst it all is a love story: the love between lovers, between parent and child, and love for the self.
Overall, I found this book to be incredibly insightful and contemplative. It opened my eyes to a new perspective on love and loss that I had never considered. Hanna Granot’s Just Five Minutes With You, My Son is perfect for fans of thought-provoking and retrospective reads, tailored to a character’s journey to mend that which is impossible to quell: the fear of death and the loss of a loved one.