Book Review: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

3.5 feel-good, accepting, childishly fun stars

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The Guncle is the story of Patrick, or GUP (Gay Uncle Pat), who finds himself taking on the role of primary guardian to his niece and nephew for the summer, after they lose their mother and their father has to deal with his own health crisis. It is a heartfelt and warm story of how a family can overcome grief together, tied together with so much heart and so many laughs.

I really enjoyed The Guncle, and it was a very nice palette cleansing, light read. This story is not incredibly eventful, but it is full of joy, laughs, tears, and love. It is a feel good book that will definitely make you laugh, and definitely make you at least a little emotional at times.

Gay people, Christians always fighting over the symbolism when rainbows rightfully belong to the leprechauns.

This book was made especially fun to read by all of the references that Patrick throws out at all times. He is constantly referencing Wang Chung, The Sound of Music, and so many other things. He has a nostalgia for the 80’s that will be appreciated by many, but an awareness of the current (unless it is YouTube). Every character in this is an absolute delight to read, and their interactions are just wonderfully human.

The best part of this book for me was absolutely how certain conversations with the children were handled. It is in the little things that we do around children, and the dialogue we open up with them, that helps them grow into accepting and loving adults. Little moments of acceptance really shine in this book. Whether it was simply in Patrick asking Maisie if she would like to marry one day and have a husband or a wife, or in the acceptance and encouragement of someone seeking treatment, it was all handled so well.

It takes a gay village.

Bonus: pay attention to how awesome Patrick’s thruple friends are! I loved every scene they were in.

Big Takeaway

The Guncle is a fun, warm, delightful read. It will make you laugh, and it will fill your heart. It is definitely a wonderfully light book with lots of soul, acceptance and growth. It is a sweet and human story of one family’s love and overcoming of obstacles.

**I received a free copy of this book and am leaving this review voluntarily**

About the Author

Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book of 2016 and The Editor, named by NPR and Esquire Magazine as one of the Best Books of 2019. His new novel, The Guncle, arrives May 25th, 2021. O Magazine hails it as one of the LGBT books changing the literary landscape. Rowley’s fiction has been published in twenty languages.

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