The Guncle – by Steven Rowley – independent book review – Fiction

As I read this book, the main adjectives that came to mind: sweet, funny, lightweight, predictable. I awarded the book three stars on Goodreads, even though most reviewers are giving this one much higher marks. Maybe 3.5 is more precise.

The Guncle (standing for “gay uncle”) is how Maisie and Grant refer to their Uncle Patrick, or “GUP” for “gay Uncle Patrick.” He is their father’s (Greg) brother but also their mother’s (Sara) closest college friend. The story centers on a summer that Patrick (a somewhat famous but currently reclusive TV star) becomes primary caretaker of his niece and nephew at his bachelor’s bungalow in Palm Springs.

Author Steven Rowley’s writing is informal and witty, though for me, in a quite heavy-handed way. It got to the point (again, for me) that Uncle Patrick turned into a bit of a stereotype — the looks-obsessed, self-indulgent, gay man who uses the “bon mot” to both claim attention AND deflect intimacy.

The story is not all fun and games and there is much more to Patrick than the stereotype gay man I just described — but I don’t want to give anything away. Just how Maisie, Grant, and Patrick learn to live together and how they change each other is the main point of the book. And that’s how the story becomes both sweet and predictable.

Steven Rowley
Photo from his Website

It’s a light, fast read and I do recommend it to those interested.

More about the author.

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