My Little Soldiers
by Glen Borden
This new novel provides a refreshing male perspective on the infertility journey as experienced by Mike and his beautiful girlfriend Nyla. The pursuit of fatherhood for Mike becomes somewhat a comedy of errors and his experiences of IUI, ICSI and IVF is often humorously described, yet is ultimately heart-warming as he learns lessons about life and love in the face of their repeated disappointments and failures. The book has some great characters who support Mike and Nyla along the way; “Tiny”, the caretaker where they live, was one of my favourites; a big man with a chequered past and the unlikeliest of agony aunts, becomes Mike’s source of strength in difficult times. The book has many comedy moments, especially as his whole family become involved in his baby-making quest and there are some hilarious and cringe worthy conversations between Mike and his parents about their problem and where ‘fault’ can be attributed.
As a reader you’ll feel for Mike as he learns of both his and his partner’s joint infertility; a shared responsibility for their failure, but no more comforting to either of them. Both Mike and Nyla feel their bodies have failed them and they slowly realise they are not in control of their fate as they bravely attempt each new cycle of treatment. Written from Mike’s perspective, we learn about how he continually doubts his masculinity as a result of his infertility and struggles to tell his oldest friends about their problem fearing their ridicule. He also makes some awful decisions in attempts to reassert his masculinity which have the potential to topple his entire world.
Even though this is Mike’s story, it’s not just a book for the boys. As a female reader I found it interesting to read about Mike’s experience of the infertility world, which is so often the woman’s domain. Mike recognises he takes a back-seat in the treatment process, but he is no less involved in the emotional struggle and he has his own demons to face. Mike is a man who desperately wants to be a daddy, but he soon realises not at any cost. The final few pages will melt any lover of a romcom, which ultimately and perhaps surprisingly, is the genre of this most enjoyable book.