Steven Rowley’s The Guncle is a great read – funny, and with loads of quirky moments.
Hollywood star, Patrick or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP) escapes from the rat race from Hollywood, instead hiding away in Palm Springs to help get over a big loss in his love life.
Patrick doesn’t have much time to wallow in his grief. Soon he finds himself caring for his niece and nephew: Grant and Maisie, who are 6 and 9, respectively. They are spending the summer with GUP. Their mother has recently died and their father, unable to cope, has checked himself into rehab.
What follows is an upbeat approach to destiny realisation. It’s not hiding away, or isolating yourself; but instead immersing yourself in life with your “nibling’s”. Naturally Patrick is meant to be caring for them; but it becomes apparent early on that they are caring for him too. And, together the kids unintentionally change Patrick’s views on life and love. Of course, it doesn’t take long for Patrick to realise he need them just as much as they need him.
Patrick talks to the two children like they’re adults; spouting off various quotes about musical theatre and films that the children have no idea out. These moments, and there are many of them, are some of the book’s laugh out loud moments. That and the many “Guncle rules” that Patrick taunts the children with.
It’s these moments, and the humour, that help set the book apart from similar stories. And, I found myself smiling many times throughout my time reading The Guncle. I also enjoyed how each character grew and developed as the book progressed.
The Guncle flows naturally and hits all the notes; it balances the sad and fun moments, whilst also offering times for reflection. Rowley also has a great eye for detail, with the descriptions bringing it all to life – the Palm Springs humidity was practically dripping off the pages. It would make for a great movie – though the casting of GUP would have to be just right.
The Guncle is an enjoyable and fun read – full of charm, love, and quirky characters who are full of sass and heart. It made me laugh, smile and cry.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Steven Rowley’s The Guncle is available now from Simon & Schuster. Grab yourself a copy from Booktopia HERE.