Rating: 4.5 / 5
When your friends rave about how fantastic a book is and tell you that you might as well go buy it because you need to read it, you really don’t have a choice, right? THE GUNCLE by Steven Rowley was one of those booksta friends made me buy it books!
THE GUNCLE follows Patrick, a man known as Gay Uncle Patrick (affectionately shorted to GUP) by his niece Maisie and nephew Grant. Patrick was once a sitcom star, but his fame is starting to fade a bit. He is loving his single life in Palm Springs, but when tragedy strikes the family he is the first to step up to help.
Maisie and Grant lose their mother and their father isn’t able to care for them, so they move to Palm Springs for the summer to live with their uncle. They’re used to quick visits where they enjoy the pool and each other and then head home. Now, it is soon clear Patrick’s lifestyle isn’t the most ideal for a long term stay and they all must make adjustments.
The premise of this one at the outset is sad, but the cover screams fun, so I wasn’t entirely sure what the balance would be. I think Steven Rowley nailed it. The kids are dealing with a lot (as is Patrick as their loss brings up feelings of his own), but relocating to bright and sunny (and hot) Palm Springs gives them the perfect opportunities to take breaks from their grief. It isn’t a head in the clouds, everything is fine kind of stories. There are still moments of deep emotions, but it really is an uplifting read all around!
I have had Steven Rowley’s books on my list for ages, but this is the first I’ve actually picked up. Clearly I need to get back to those backlist titles! This was such a fun and heartwarming read that will leave you wishing for your very own Patrick in your life! If you haven’t had the opportunity to read this one, I absolutely urge you to pick up a copy too!