Book review- The Guncle by Steven Rowley

RATING – 5/5

Do yourself a favour, read this book. The Guncle was one of the funniest and most heartfelt books ever written on the subject of grief and losing a loved one. I know that sounds weird, how could a book about losing a loved one be funny? That is how masterfully this is written. 

Read about GUP- Gay Uncle Patrick who adores his niece Maisie and nephew Grant but in small doses, a couple of days at a time and far apart.  But all of that changes when their mother who was also Patrick’s best friend dies and his brother needs a little time on his own to work on his addiction problems. He wants GUP to be the children’s guardian while he recuperates.

Patrick used to be a famous sitcom star, who now lives a loner life in Palm Springs after losing his great love and partner Joe. Totally in over his head with this responsibility, Patrick sets out living and loving large with his niece and nephew by setting up various ‘Guncle Rules’.  It was always going to be a crazy ride.

This book was so beautifully written, the characters so amazingly fleshed out. You will love Patrick and his snarky humour and big heart that he has hidden away under layers of grief. You will love reading about adorable six-year-old Grant, peeling away those layers, one genius yet inane question at a time… “How do you eat soup without elbows?” or the exchange below that nearly had me falling from my chair…

“Why do you like boys?” Grant asked sourly, but with slightly more boredom than judgment.

“I don’t know, why do you like pizza?”

“Because it tastes good in my mouth.”

Patrick wasn’t about to go anywhere near that.”

And your heart will ache as you cope with sweet 9-year-old Maisie who is such a darling and so smart and protective as she has to suddenly grow up after losing her mom.  The host of side characters from the agent, the aunt to the gay throuple neighbours are all so real and well written. This book is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings. At one point you are going to put the book aside, put on some Wang Chung at a loud volume and have a dance party by yourself, at least I did!

This book is a good cry that you needed to feel better, it’s that belly rolling laugh that you just couldn’t hold in, it’s the sweet first bite into a dense chocolate cake and the refreshing first sip of a cold martini.  So I repeat, do yourself a favour, read this book! I will leave you with one of my favourite ‘Guncle Rules’

“Guncle Rule number eight: Live your life to the fullest every single day, because every day is a gift. That’s why people die. To teach us the importance of living.”

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