Title: Countdown to Daddies
Author: K-lee Klein
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy Link: Countdown to Daddies
Genre: Contemporary m/m fiction
Length: novella (116 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Breathtakingly funny yet remarkably tender tribute to Gay Dads!
Blurb: Matteo and Gabe have everything they could ever want out of life, except for a family all their own. When Gabe’s twin sister offers to be their surrogate, it’s a dream come true until she insists they be completely involved in the pregnancy. The new dads quickly realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew.
Review: Hilarious! Brilliant! Clever! Sweet! Fun! Fun! Fun!
If I were going to guess at the soundbites that K-Lee Klein’s publisher might lift from the reviews of her novella, Countdown to Daddies, these would top the list. Followed by this:
Best tribute ever to gay adoptive parents everywhere!
I really loved this little story! It had humor, heart, and just enough sarcastic repartee to keep me chuckling the entire time. And at the end when I was wiping my eyes for the hundredth time it wasn’t due to just the incredibly humorous storytelling but to a genuinely sweet story that ended with such tenderness that–well, yes–I needed a tissue or two.
The story is a simple one. It takes us through the process of two men using a surrogate to have a baby that they can adopt for their own. But this is not just any surrogate–no, this is the sister of one of the father’s to be–Gabe. His twin sister to be exact. Two wonderful things you should know about Gabe–first he is a bear who likes to bottom–and the second is that he is in love with a younger man who is often mistaken, despite his age, for a twink–Matteo or Matty as Gabe lovingly calls him.
Matty is the calmer of the two–and he guides his boyfriend Gabe through the treacherous waters of fatherdom with true finesse and wisdom. Gabe is a neurotic mess who loves his sister but who has such a fear of anything girly that the simple act of going through breathing exercises with her is beyond his endurance. It had something to do with her enormous breasts resting on his arms as he is forced to rub her belly–I’m not sure as I was laughing so hard I could barely see the words on the page at that point!
The remarkably well drawn minor characters of Mira (Gabe’s sister and baby Mommy) and her husband Bill are absolutely hysterical. Bill, the fount of pregnancy wisdom, becomes Matty’s hero. His pearls of wisdom become the focus for Matty’s continued hold on sanity while Gabe goes off the deep end, literally! Here is just an example of the delightful imaginings of K-lee Klein’s fertile imagination that is given voice by Bill at delivery time:
“Trust me, she’s like a she-devil on crack when those contractions hit and she wants absolutely no one in her space. I’ve seriously feared for my balls in the past when I got too close.”
At this point I was gasping for air from laughing so much–not only because of that passage but because of interchanges like these between Gabe and Matty:
“I did it, Matty. I broke of the the most coveted of gay rules in the gay rule book.”
“There’s a gay rule book?” He slipped the keys between his fingers, his head cocked to the side in thought. “Keys? Rule book? Oh! You did not!”
“I did.” Gabe’s eyes stayed shut but he tossed a hand in the air for emphasis.
Matteo almost choked on the laughter threatening to burst from his throat. “You bought a mini-van?”
I laughed till it hurt to draw breath. K-Lee Klein is a master at characterization–her men breathe–they lift off the page and stand there in front of you and you–lucky reader–get to watch their story unfold.
I cannot give this novella enough praise! It was a lovely tribute to gay fathers and a well-written story to boot!
But this–well–this dear reader is what was truly the best part of this story. During the birth of their babies, Matty, strong, sure Matty who throughout the book is a veritable wall for Gabe to lean on–always reassuring, always calm, finally gives voice to a hidden fear he harbors. In a genuinely tender moment Ms. Klein puts down on the page exactly how Matty feels.
“…but what if I don’t know what to do when you’re not here!…What if I hurt our babies?”…
“Shhh,” Gabe said. “Those babies are going to have the best dads in the world, both of them. Do you know why?”
Matteo’s throat clogged with emotion again. All he could manage was a shake of his head.
“Because if we love them half as much as I love you, they’ll never want for anything, especially love.”
And that dear reader is how it should be—babies…children…being loved by fathers–gay and proud–regardless of the political nonsense–regardless of the supposed rules–just love–in all it’s beauty.
Countdown to Daddies, in my humble opinion, is a five star read–but as always you must decide for yourself, dear reader. I hope you don’t miss this one–it is a really good read!