“The Guncle” by Steven Rowley— Love, Patience and Family

Rowley, Steven. “The Guncle”, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2021.

Love, Patience and Family

Amos Lassen

Patrick is a gay uncle (GUP, for short) who loves 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 goes home to Connecticut for the holidays. However, caretaking and relating to two children overwhelm him. When the kids lose their mother and their father becomes ill, Patrick facestaking on the role of primary guardian. Even though he has a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick really does not know what to expect. He had been preoccupied barely making it himself after he lost his own lover and his career as an actor stalled. He knows that the way he lives is not the best for a six- and a nine-year-old. It does not long for him to understand that becoming a parent is much more than fun and games. He now has a new sense of responsibility and the realizing that makes him see that he is, indeed, human. 

Being a gay uncle myself (although not to the degree that Patrick has to undertake), I found so many relatable sections in “The Guncle”. I also found great humor and wonderful heart. Steven Rowley gives us a new kind of hero in this novel that gives us yet another definition of family. There is a sweetness and tenderness to this story that has us confront love and death and family. Patrick is a fabulous character who is not likely to become a parent or to help the children deal with grief yet he does so wonderfully. He is just what they need and they, in turn, help him deal with his own loss of love. Even with all of the humor here, Rowley deals with emotions beautifully.

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