The Guncle

Putnam. May 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780525542285. $27. F
It has been several years since Patrick O’Hara left his TV sitcom and retired to Palm Springs. All is peaceful routine for Patrick, who is gay, until his sister-in-law (and bosom friend) dies and his brother checks himself into rehab, leaving Patrick in charge of his nine-year-old niece and six-year-old nephew. Maisie and Grant know their uncle is gay, thus the moniker guncle. In the tradition of Auntie Mame and Travels with My Aunt, this latest from Rowley (Lily and the Octopus) explores the relationships between young and old, grief and acceptance, stagnation and growth—all while challenging the expectations of convention. Under Patrick’s unorthodox tutelage, the children are exposed to an entirely new way of looking at life, while Patrick, through the agency of his niece and nephew, finally comes to grips with his own grief. Influenced by comic dialogue that would make Neil Simon jealous, the novel’s serious undercurrent of loss gives way, in the end, to a warmth that will make readers smile.
VERDICT A funny, gentle tale of family and friends, and a salve for the wounds they often cause.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing