Cover Image: The Guncle

The Guncle

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Member Reviews

This book is so heartwarming! While the events are kickstarted by a tragedy, the book never loses its light, humorous vibe. Patrick is sarcastic, wisecracking, and lacking in patience for talking to children like they’re children (lol) – all of which make him endlessly entertaining. Underneath that caustic exterior, however, Patrick is a man who has been touched by more than his share of grief and loss. While he’s hesitant to look after his niece and nephew at first, over time, he starts to realize that the lovable kids fill a void in his heart and inspire him to live life to the fullest. 

Patrick is definitely the star of the book, but there’s also a memorable cast of side characters. I enjoyed the supportive relationship between Patrick and his brother Greg, who is battling addiction. Then there’s Patrick’s and Greg’s older sister Clara, who comes off as judgmental and out-of-line while also managing to be a sympathetic character. Patrick’s next-door neighbors are a polyamorous trio (a.k.a. “throuple”) of men named John, Eduardo, and Dwayne (known collectively as “J.E.D.”), and while there are times when Patrick comes off as judgmental of them, he ends up changing his mind as he befriends them more. The kids, Maisie and Grant, are quirky and fun, and there are even a couple of adorable dogs rounding out the cast. 

There are several showbiz references in this book that I’m probably too young to understand at age 22; at first, I was googling each reference, but as the story progressed, I started to gloss over them. This probably dampened my enjoyment, since a lot of the jokes didn’t land. Obviously, this is just a “me” thing and says nothing about the quality of the book. 

Ignoring the references I didn’t understand, it’s hard to say why, despite my enjoyment, I didn’t love this book. Maybe it’s because I didn’t completely vibe with the humor? I definitely laughed out loud a few times, but it definitely didn’t take up a majority of the book like it did for other reviewers. 

In short, I greatly enjoyed this book and will gladly read more books by Steven Rowley.
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I was worried when I started this book that Patrick was a little too stereotypically gay, but as the story progresses, he himself projects that way as a sort of sheild against an unforgiving world.

This book is so touching, so funny, and so much fun that I'm not sure how to describe it, except you should go out and get it.

Patrick is a former television star, who has retreated to Palm Springs where his husband is killed in an auto accident. He has been there, by himself, up until his sister-in-law dies, and he is volunteered to take care of the children while his brother is in rehab. (Yes, it gets complicated).

Patrick loves to quote old movies, as well as Oscar Wild. The kids have no idea why or what he is doing but get into the spirit, if nothing else. It is fun to see them all bond over the summer, and to see little bits of Patrick open up, as well.

Guncle means Gay Uncle, by the way.

Oh, and Christmas can be celebrated in July, no problem.

<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review. </em>
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I'm bummed to say this but at 58%, I have to DNF. I cruised through the first 30% but the story has plateaued. Very minimal character development and it's honestly the Patrick show. He "says" he is helping Grant and Maisie, but as a parent, his lack of awareness and immaturity is driving me absolutely nuts. I think the author is trying to be playful to keep things light, but it's hard to keep things light when the children's mother died and their father is in an addiction recovery facility. I'm sure things will turn around and everyone will be happy and Patrick will have a great experience and their father will be addiction-free, but I can't give this book any more of my time.
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This book is a MUST READ. First, that title and cover - soon. Second, right from the first chapter this plot is filled with humor somehow in the midst of a family tragedy... and you-just-cannot-put-it-down. Rowley has developed such a lovable character in GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick), that I think I fell in love with Guncle immediately, just as his niece and nephew obviously do too. The plot initially plucked my heart out (Patrick's sister in law and BFF passes away and immediately Patrick's brother checks into rehab, leaving Patrick with his two tiny wards) but Rowley delivers such a moving story with humor and grace. Each character has their own set of grief to deal with and Rowley truly captures the innocence and brilliance of children, while navigating this story of family loss and love. I highly suggest reading this book somewhere near a pool (it will make you want to swim), preferably with a martini in hand (although, virgin drink is also acceptable). If you enjoy fiction, family relationships, humorous banter (Rowley mastered this so well, so many fav dialogues!), then do yourself a big favor and pre-order, order for your library, and ENJOY! (Also, I am 35 and now wish GUP would adopt me.)
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*special thanks to the G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!

4 stars
Wow! What a fun read. 
It’s laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, and touching. 
It definitely touches on tough subjects like death of a parent, addiction, and grief. I thought it talked about with subjects with care and humanity. 
I don’t know what else to say, except read this if you wanna have a good time!
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A laughing out loud story with heartfelt message.

The Guncle is over the top,  emotional , sweet ,  beautiful and hilarious. Perfect escapism read. 

It made me cry and laugh in equal measures. Very entertaining.

I just reviewed The Guncle by Steven Rowley. #TheGuncle #NetGalley
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I loved this book! It's funny and smart and wise and thoroughly entertaining. I was rooting for all the characters, the angry, confused, bitingly witty, well-meaning Guncle, the grieving kids who find themselves unexpectedly in his care, and the surprisingly soulful hunky young love interest.
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This book was so much more, but also exactly what I hoped it would be.

Patrick was such an interesting character, he loved old movies, Oscar Wilde quotes, and 80s music. And I often thought he liked to hear himself talk, but the more I got into the book, the more I connected with him and really appreciated his little wisdom nuggets he so freely gave away.

The premise of an uncle taking care of his nephew and niece, two young children who just recently lost their mom, touched my heart. It actually made me tear up too. Because the book wasn’t just funny, smart, and thoughtful, it also talked about grief, about letting go and being able to move on after death, getting better, finding joy and meaning in life.

And I loved how it all was connected. New grief and old. Finding joy in taking care of children, and enjoying the small things in life. Being there for family and finding a way to start over again.

The relationship between Patrick, Grant and Maisie was heartwarmingly emotional and touching. I love novels with kids, they often bring out the best in characters, and that’s exactly what happened to Patrick. And his little wisdom nuggets, which often were too adult for the little ones, struck just the right chord and prevented the book from begin predictable and cliche.
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This book is AMAZING! I absolutely LOVED this book!!

Wow, I wish I had a relative as great as Patrick. He is humorously witty and clever and had me laughing so much throughout this story. 
 
The children are adorable and I just wanted to hug them so much. They were cracking me up!

I really loved this book. It had me laughing, crying and sighing. I really needed a heart warming book like this and I will definitely be buying a physical copy come May.

Thank you Penguin Random Putnam and Netgalley for this lovely ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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“Grief orbits the heart. Some days the circle is greater. Those are the good days. You have room to move and dance and breathe. Some days the circle is tighter. Those are the hard ones.”

Do you ever get to that certain point in a book where you’re thinking to yourself “wow, this is more than I bargained for when picking this up”? Because that’s what I felt like reading The Guncle.

What I expected? A fun time watching a gay uncle wrestle with his brother’s children. What I got? That, and so much more. This book has more hidden depths than I have double chins and that’s saying something.

Let’s get straight to the point: Patrick—or Gay Uncle Patrick as he is known by his niece Maisie and his nephew Grant—is a kaleidoscope of awesomeness. From hilarious one-liners to deep discussions on what it means to be lost in the world, that man is riveting. There’s a scene in this book where Patrick basically gets an entire room of TV producers to fall in love with him, his wit and humour, and his vulnerability in less than ten minutes and that’s how I felt reading this book—it wasn’t even a choice to love Patrick, it’s just the natural consequence of reading The Guncle. I’ve rarely read books where I’d describe the protagonist as charismatic—sarcastic? Sure. Confident? Of course. A mess? Always. But Patrick has the kind of charisma that you want in a movie star and I don’t know how Rowley was able to translate this character trait so well onto the page, but it’s there. Patrick has this sort of magnetic aura that makes you want to find out every little detail about him, especially as we start out the novel thinking he’s a retired sitcom star who’s just bored by Hollywood and then learn the real reason for why he’s moved away from the spotlight.

Of course we have the great moments that come with this sitcom-y kind of novel: Patrick doing everything wrong with the kids, feeling overwhelmed by coating children in sunscreen, losing arguments and being unable to answer any of the five million questions children ask each day. Maisie and Grant are as funny as they are exasperating, as heartbreakingly adorable as they are storms to be weathered—in short, they are exactly what children are: a force to be reckoned with and boy, does Patrick have to reckon. And that was a great time, no doubt about it. I laughed out loud as much as I would watching a sitcom, for sure.

But then there’s the other side of this novel. The one that will take your heart by storm and make you flip those pages, wondering how you ever thought this was just going to be a good time instead of the unforgettable reading experience it will transform into. And most of that can be attributed to the discussions around grief.

The depiction of grief within this novel was also outstanding. I loved how this discussed the different ways in which to grieve someone, and this feeling of possessiveness when it comes to losing someone—on the one hand, you know you’re not the only one who lost that person and on the other, you don’t want to share your memories, your belonging to this person, with anyone else. There’s also a lot of discussion around what others perceive as grief and the “right way” of behaving after you lose someone—and Patrick does not stand for that bullshit when told that his nephew and niece shouldn’t be having a great summer. Indeed, he even encourages them to have fun while also remembering that it’s okay to feel pain when thinking of their mother. Rowley takes his time exploring the different versions of grief and getting over that loss (even though everyone involved knows that’s never going to happen) and it just really hit home for me. From the passages where Patrick told his brother that sometimes, you’ll miss the pain because you’ve become so accustomed to it, to the passages with the kids where Patrick tried his hardest to make sure they don’t forget their mom, everything resonated with me. I think that anyone who’s ever grieved someone can find empathy and support within these pages without judgement and that alone is a great reason to pick this book up.

Beyond the deep dive into grief, we also have so much more in this novel—from fraught family relationships to misunderstood and suppressed loss, to addiction and what it means to be in the public eye—there’s really no end to the depths once Patrick opens the floodgates to his heart. I don’t want to spoil too much, but really, this book deserves an Oscar or something for how much it puts into such a short amount of pages.

What I also really appreciated was the diversity in this novel. Patrick lives next to a throuple (three men in a polyamorous relationship) and I loved how Patrick started out as superficial friends with them but slowly came to realise that their relationship wasn’t just a “trend” or something “quirky” but three adults who don’t want to live without the other. This kind of “won” acceptance was a welcome representation in adult fiction I haven’t seen before.

As hysterically funny as it is profound, The Guncle is the perfect summer read for anyone who’s looking for a good time with amazing characters without forfeiting deep and meaningful discussions that will feel like a balm to the soul for anyone who’s ever lost someone.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  
I chose this book because it sounded like a funny book.  Although it was funny it was also very heartwarming and touching.  This book is about love, loss, family and trying to get on with life after loosing someone you truly loved..  It was a great story.  There was unnecessary language (especially "GD") that would have made the story better if it were not used.  Just saying that because I would want someone to tell me.
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After a week of severe conditions in TX, I bumped up this title to the top of my list in hopes that a “trip” to Palm Springs would brighten my spirits. Mission accomplished, plus so much more!

The Guncle at face value seems like another novel where Steven Rowley’s hilarious prose has readers laughing out loud. But the genius of this story is how artfully he weaves in a very serious topic. Grief in many forms is addressed in subtle and applicable ways throughout the plot. How do we address, honor, live with grief - the grief of a Ioved one, an innocence, a career, a lifestyle?  There is so much to take away from this lovely story.

Gay Uncle Patrick aka Guncle, an actor who has drifted away from a successful Hollywood career, is charged with the care of his young niece and nephew, as their Mom has died and their Dad enters rehab. The underlying “who saved who” message is present throughout the narrative, which had this reader laughing but on the verge of happy and sad tears.

“You have no idea the questions I’m fielding. And it’s only been two days! Who invented swear words? Why do we have two eyes, but only see one thing? Why don’t dogs have eyebrows? What was the last day I was a child? The inanity is endless!” “I don’t know,” John said, “it sounds pretty profound. For instance, what was the last day you were a child?”

Wow.
I will be recommending this title to those in need of some lightness during a dark time, and predict it will be THE accessory to many beach/poolside bags this summer! 
ARC was provided by Penguin Group Putnam Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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I guess I had medium high hopes of a funny and charming tale, along the lines of A Family Affair crossed with Jack from Will and Grace.  Struggle, conflict, resolution, lessons learned, tearful hug.  This did not materialize, as the main character had no plausible understanding of what children know and speaks to them like they are aliens. This was very trying. And not cute. Nevertheless,I still persevered. Then I got to the section about the Japanese toilet and I thought, life is too short. This book is about how life is too short. I'm done.
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"Normal is a terrible thing to aspire to," Patrick had said, "Aim higher."

What. A. Delight!


Honestly, I'd never heard of this author. I was drawn to it by the retro cover and the blurb looked cute so on a lark I hit the request button and it was the best lark I've had in awhile!

GUP a.k.a. Patrick O'Hara, excuse me, Golden Globe winning Patrick O'Hara is... well, truth be told he's kind of a pill. But I loved him all the more for his pillishness. This does not make me extraordinary in any way since most people love him because he's hilarious or famous. Just ask him, he'll be happy to tell you. At first I thought it hubris but some is an innate humor and some has been forged in a life that has knocked him around sharpening his snark into a weapon. He's become a bit of a recluse in his Palm Springs MCM mansion that abuts the JED estate, who make great secondary characters. Nonetheless, Patrick through it all, has retained that sense of humor and acquired some life lessons that he doles out in the "Guncle Rules".

I'm partial to Guncle Rule 5. Wise. So wise.

His niece and nephew are the beneficiaries of GUP's largesse after suffering their own tragedy which has thrust them into Patrick's Palm Springs refuge disrupting his monotonous and rather solitary routine. 

Initially they're all discomfited by these unfamiliar circumstances but eventually they find their way which is when this comedy began to evolve into something more poignant and heartwarming. What resonated with me was Rowley's deft handling of a complex topic like grief in such an oblique, genuine and nuanced way without tipping over into cliché or becoming overly saccharine or cutesy. 

Maisie, Grant and Patrick learn from each other proving once again you're never too old or too young as it were, to have an impact on another's life. Through this edification they embark on the healing process and begin to live again, one ridiculous pool float, dinosaur park visit, pink tree and brunch or lupper at a time.

What's more, The Guncle for the first time (I think) ever I could actually see in my head like a film which I fervently hope happens since apparently Hollywood has found this author. Also of note, this is the first story in a long time that left me bereft. There was actual sadness when it was over as I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Patrick's cheeky and oftentimes erudite "rules", Grant's lisp, Maisie's reserve or Emory's joie de vivre.

So if you're in the mood for a touching yarn featuring a somewhat vainglorious yet vulnerable protagonist and two precocious children who lean on each other during a emotionally fraught time then give The Guncle a try.

An ARC was provided by NegGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Review to be posted to IG closer to pub date. 

When his friend/sister-in-law dies and his brother finds himself facing his own issues, GUP or Gay Uncle Patrick, the former actor, finds himself taking in his niece and nephew for the summer.

I was expecting a comedy, and although there were some moments that made me giggle, this book is much deeper and more serious than I expected. That being said, I still thought this was an incredible book. It has great messages about family, about loss, and about finding yourself. It is incredibly heartfelt and beautiful to see Patrick’s journey through grief. I laughed, I cried, truly all the feels. Add this to your TBR, I can see this one being a very popular summer read that everyone is talking about!

Thank you to NetGalley and GP Putnam for the advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Guncle will be released on May 25th.
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This book seemed to have a lot of heart in the beginning but I was having a really hard time relating to the uncle and the kids.  I don't think the book was for me and the way they revealed about the mother's death - and the tie ins to the "Gunckles" friendship, just wasn't something I was enjoying.
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What clever and delightful surprise this was! I wasn't sure what to expect, but this book won me over form the start and made for a perfect weekend read. Looking forward to reading more by this talented author!
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This was a very funny and sweet story about a gay uncle taking in his sisters children.  There are so many tender moments and absolutely laugh out loud moments.

If you are looking for just plain ole entertainment, this is the book for you!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group - Putnam for this advanced readers copy.  This book is due to release in May 2021.
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4 out of 5 stars - If you ask me, I'll tell you to read it

Thank you to NetGalley, and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam - G.P. Putnam's Sons for this Advanced Reader's Copy.

Patrick, an actor who hasn't worked in a few years, has been keeping to himself in Palms Springs for a while.  When his best friend, who is also his sister-in-law passes away, he finds himself being asked to watch his niece and nephew while his brother deals with his own health issues.  Maisie (9) and Grant (6) come to stay with Patrick for the summer, and together they work through the demons of love and loss.  Maisie and Grant call Patrick GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick) or Guncle, an awesome nickname if I've ever heard one!

Patrick has had other losses in life, and I loved seeing how he dealt with his own issues while helping the children deal with the loss of their mother.  By the end of the summer, you can see changes in all 3 of them!

I loved the Guncle Rules throughout the book.  I wish there was a full listing of them at the end!
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There are few books that I wish I could go back and read again for the first time. This is one of my new favorite books. 
I want a Guncle. A guncle is a gay uncle. Patrick (or GUP- Gay Uncle Patrick) is an aging tv star who has moved to Palm Springs to relax out the rest of his life. His best friend from college married his brother and she dies, leaving her family spinning. Her husband (Patrick's brother) confesses that he's become addicted to pills and needs to go straight to rehab after her funeral and has Patrick take his two kids back to Palm Springs with him for the summer. Patrick has no experience with children and his likes and language are not exactly kid-friendly. Touching hilarity ensues. In typical Rowley style, the snappy dialog and gay perspective jokes are spot on. I love his writing style and found myself laughing and then tearing up. This is the book I needed this year. Please add this book to your TBR list now! 
Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy. Please don't change a thing (including the fun cover that represents the books contents so well.)
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