The Guncle: A Heartwarming and Hilarious Novel about Love, Loss, and Family -Book Review

Book –   The Guncle

Author- Stephen Rowley

Genre- Fiction

There are books, and there are books which pull at your heartstrings. These are the kind of books that stay with you long after you have finished reading them. The Guncle by Steven Rowley is one such book. It is an emotional and heartfelt story that explores themes of grief, family and friendships. It tells the story of Patrick, his niece and nephew, and their time together.

Patrick, The Guncle, short for the gay uncle, is a gay actor who has taken on the life of a recluse and is living by himself in Palm Springs. He has taken to a life of hiding and withdrawal after the death of his partner. Unknown to him, his grief has made him do that. And then suddenly, on the death of his sister-in-law,  he is saddled with the responsibility of these two children. Patrick does not want this, but he has no choice. His brother wants him to take them with him, and he cannot refuse.

So from an uncle who is there for the fun and games, he has to don the mantle of parenthood with all its trappings. Along with that, he has to help them handle the loss of their mother and come out of it. Patrick rises to the occasion and does everything he can to make them happy. His attempts are sometimes funny and, at other times, touching. The time with them helps him to fight some of his demons. Patrick learns to navigate his new role as a parent while helping the two children.

The book depicts how children can help adults live by finding joy in little things. They say a child is the father of man, and this book proves it.

What I love about the book is its simple writing style which is easy to follow. The book is a roller coaster of emotions, and any parent or even someone with parental instincts will be able to relate to it. The book is a great way to relive your childhood and look at life from the eyes of a child.

The characters are well-drawn and believable, and their emotional journey is authentic and moving. The family rings true to life with all the highs and lows that come with any familial relationship.

The writing is engaging and witty and shows Rowley’s gift for capturing the nuances of human behaviour and emotions. He uses these skills to come up with a story that is entertaining and profound. The book is a feel-good fiction testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love and compassion to heal even the deepest of wounds.

Many people, especially parents, will be able to relate to this book and the challenges Patrick faces as a parent.

However, the relationship between Patrick, Greg and Sara could have been explored further. It seems a bit incomplete. But on the whole, the book is an excellent read.

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The book has some vital life lessons that Guncle puts forth in the form of his rules.

I quote some of them-

‘People who love each other fight. The opposite of love isn’t anger. Its indifference. When people stop fighting, that’s when you should be worried.

‘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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If you are looking for an emotional and thought-provoking read, this book is for you.

I give it a rating of 4.5/5

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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