Silver Lining: What to Read: Novels about Infertility

May 13, 2016

What to Read: Novels about Infertility

When it comes to infertility, there are not a lot of great fiction books out there. Obviously there are a million scientific non-fiction books that will tell you about medical procedures and adoption procedures. There are also a huge amount of books about parents and parenting. But it can be surprisingly hard to find a fiction book whose main plot focuses around infertility. Lots of times, infertility is mentioned as a passing backstory, but rarely does it take center stage.

Over the years, I've read a few fiction novels about infertility whose plots I adore. They feature strong characters, raw emotions, tough choices, and the ups and downs of the infertility roller coaster. Here are some of my favorites:

The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman, 2012

This book is about a young couple who lives by themselves on an island off Australia tending a lighthouse. After two miscarriages and a stillbirth, the once-vibrant Isabel hears a baby crying in the wind. A dead man and his alive baby have washed ashore. She takes the baby as her own and becomes alive and joyful again. Until they return to the mainland and find that everyone has been searching for the child they call their own. This book drew me in and did such a great job of illustrating both sides of the story.

The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey, 2012

This is a retelling of the old classic fairy tale, and I thought it was so beautifully written. It's about a barren couple trying to survive in the harsh Alaska desert. One night they build a child from snow, who then comes alive and visits the couple. It really brought the Alaskan frontier to life, and did I mention the writing is just lovely?

What Alice Forgot
Liane Moriarty, 2010

Technically, Elizabeth's journey with infertility is only the sub-plot of this book. But I loved it just a much as the main plot. I loved how raw and open and real her emotions felt, and loved the descriptions of the support group too. In the end, I was just as invested in her plot resolution as I was in the main character's resolution. What can I say, I just love this book.

Honorable Mentions:

The Children of Men by P.D. James
I haven't personally read this book, but it's on almost every infertility list I can find. Unlike every other book in this post, it's not realistic fiction, but rather a dystopian future world in which the human race becomes infertile and the last generation of humans is now adult. I've heard good things.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
I usually like Jodi Picoult books, but honestly, I had to stop reading this one halfway in. Every single Christian in this book is a homophobic evangelical scumbag (to use one reviewer's apt phrase), and every single lesbian in this book is a perfect, patient, loving angel. The story line is interesting and definitely original, but in the end I couldn't handle the in-your-face stereotyping, so I stopped reading it. But hey, it's a popular fiction book about infertility, so I felt I had to include it.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
I'm on hold for this one at the library right now. It's about four different women who each have their own plot arc, and one of them is, you guessed it, about infertility. I've heard mixed reviews about the writing, but everyone seems to agree that the plot is pleasant enough, so I'm excited to try it out.

What am I missing?
Favorite fiction books about infertility or adoption?
Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. Follow me on Goodreads for my most recent book reviews.

More book recommendations you might like:
Strong female leads
Great book club books
Stand-alone fantasy
Light-hearted clean romance books
Beautiful literary WWII masterpieces
Most readable classics
Best books for the new parent
What to read next if you loved Wonder

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