Review| The Guncle – Steven Rowley

Instagram is a place I get a lot of my book recommendations and when The Guncle released in May I saw it all over the place. So many readers were really enthusiastic and I have to say it caught my attention. I’m always afraid of hyped books, because my expectations definitely increase when a book is so loved. I still picked it up and want to talk about what I thought about The Guncle today! Did it live up to my expectations? Keep on reading to find out!

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.

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.


“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.”

I’m going to try and keep this review a bit short, because The Guncle is a journey I feel you really need to experience yourself. I felt so many emotions while reading this from laughing out loud to a few tears being shed. I went into this book without expecting much, but it quickly became one of my favorite books this year.

Our main character Patrick (Gay Uncle Patrick – GUP for short) is an actor and is living alone in a big house in Palm Springs. Life is calm as he likes until there is tragedy in his family. His brother loses his wife (who happens to be Patrick’s best friend) and when he needs to be away for awhile to deal with his own health Patrick takes care of his niece and nephew. When you read the first few chapters he really doesn’t seem like the person who should be taking care of two young kids, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

During the summer when Maisie and Grant stay with him and dealing with the aftermath of losing their mother, Patrick is really there for them. The Guncle is a lot about grieving and how everyone does it in their own way. I loved how that message was a big thing in this book. He showed the kids that it was okay and their adventures during the summer made them close and learn all kinds of new lessons.

“Trying to say how much your mom loved you is like trying to describe the size of the universe. It can’t be quantified. Can’t be done. I’ll bet she finds a million ways to say hello. Your eyes just have to be open to seeing them.”

Not only does this book deal with grief, but also being yourself, family, love, daring to open yourself up again and moving on without forgetting the one you love. I lost a family member when I was younger that I was really close to and I can definitely relate to what these young children have to go through. Some things definitely felt familiar and just like with them a supportive family goes a long way! I loved that besides the heavier subjects The Guncle has quite a few lighthearted moments. I mean a pink Christmas tree in the living room in July? I would sign up for that. And that’s not even the beginning!

If you’re looking for a book that will hit you in all the feels, but also make you smile and one you definitely won’t forget after reading the last page I definitely suggest reading The Guncle. Also, the audiobook was amazing. The author did an amazing job with it.


All in all The Guncle was a book I won’t be forgetting anytime soon and will definitely pick up to read again in the future! Have you read The Guncle? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to talk about this book.

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