by Steven Rowley
Published May 25, 2021
by G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Penguin Audio
Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ
From The Publisher:
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
With the humor and heart we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.
The Guncle is a delight. It covers a number of serious issues, all blanketed in a very funny package. Who knew that a story about loss and grief could be so much fun? I laughed and I cried. Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP) suddenly finds himself taking care of his niece and nephew for the summer. Patrick thinks he has no idea what to do with a six-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl, especially children who have just lost their mother, but they wind up having a wonderful summer and bond tightly. Meanwhile, Patrick is still dealing with the death of his boyfriend Joe, many years ago. Patrick slings great quotes from Oscar Wilde, teaches them about “brunch” and “lupper”, and issues rules (Guncle Rule #whatever), many of which made me laugh out loud.
“Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.” Oscar Wilde
“‘I need you to remember someting. We’ll call it Guncle Rule sweet sixteen: I want you to really live. To live is the rarest of things. Most people merely exist.’ It was another lesson cribbed from Oscar Wilde…”
I listened to the audiobook which is narrated wonderfully by the author, Steven Rowley. Don’t miss this one!