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The Guncle  By  cover art

The Guncle

By: Steven Rowley
Narrated by: Steven Rowley
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Publisher's Summary

A National Bestseller
An NPR Book of the Year
Finalist for the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.

Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved 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 heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed. 

So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick's brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of "Guncle Rules" ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting--even if temporary--isn't solved with treats and jokes, Patrick's eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you're unfailingly human.

With the humor and heart we've come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.

©2020 Steven Rowley (P)2020 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic Reviews

One of:

Oprah Daily's Best Beach Reads to Help You Escape 

Washington Post’s Feel-Good Books to Brighten Your Summer

CBS' 12 Perfect Summer Beach Reads for 2021

Vogue's 12 Beach Reads to Get Lost in This Summer

Real Simple’s Blockbuster Beach Reads

Country Living’s 32 Can’t-Miss Beach Reads for This Summer

Southern Living’s Beach Reads Perfect for Summer 2021

Bustle's 40 Best New Books to Read This May 

E! News' 18 Best Books to Check Out in May

PopSugar’s 45 Best Summer Reads of 2021

USA Today’s 5 Books Not to Miss

CNN’s 20 Books That Are Essential Reading This Pride Month

Reader's Digest's 75 Best Summer Reads of All Time

Parade’s 15 New LGBTQ+ Books to Pick Up This Summer

New York Post’s 30 Best Books on Our Summer Reading List

iHeart Radio’s 15 Best Beach Reads for Summer 2021

Christian Science Monitor's Best Books of May 

PureWow’s 10 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in May

Travel & Leisure's Most Anticipated Books of Summer

Women.com's Most Anticipated Summer Beach Reads

SheKnows’ 20 New Books You Need to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Scary Mommy’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer

Frolic's 25 Best Books of Spring 2021

Brit + Co’s 17 Beach Reads That Make the Perfect Summer Escape

NewNowNext's 17 Exciting Queer Books to Savor This Summer

Bibliolifestyle's Quintessential Summer 2021 Beach Reads 

LAMBDA Literary's Most Anticipated LGBTQ Literature of May 

Washington Post’s 12 Titles to Get You to the End of Summer

“Rowley delivers the perfect summer read: The Guncle is relentlessly witty, sweet and heartbreaking.” (Elin Hilderbrand) 

“Patrick is a memorable character, and it’s genuinely thrilling to read screenwriter-turned-novelist Rowley’s take on the mechanics of stardom.... There’s true insight here into the psychology of gay men, Hollywood, and parenting. A novel with some real depth beneath all its witty froth.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“In his heartwarming, humorous new novel, Steven Rowley shows readers the true meaning of family, reminding us that everyone - even parents - is only human.” (Travel & Leisure)

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What listeners say about The Guncle

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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In two words . . . Loved it!!

It was sweet, a little sappy, definitely heartwarming, a few tears, and a whole bunch of laugh out loud funny!!

The author narrates it, which I always love because you get the book the way they intended.

I highly recommend this book!

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Cute. Not great.

The story is good, but the cliches are plentiful and the performance is insufferable. I could only listen for about 10 minutes at a time because the performance was so cutesy, sing songy, and predictable.

9 people found this helpful

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CHARMING!!!

This book had me hook, line, and sinker. Charming, funny, snarky,
and my goodness, I loved the narration. I fell in love with the
entire family.
So very sad to have this book end.
Going to read Mr. Rowley 's backlist next.

8 people found this helpful

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Loved it - worth the credit!!!!

Great story and the narration was amazing. Never heard an author read his own story before and he did a great job. A sequel or another book about the throuple would be awesome!

5 people found this helpful

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Great read!

I loved it! Both funny and touching. I listened to it while I walked for exercise and I couldn't wait for the next day to enjoy the next installment!

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful!!

I loved the storyline. It was so real and tender and hysterical!

I would recommend this to everyone. I adored it and didn’t want it to end.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fun and endearing

The Guncle is equal parts humorous, endearing and irritating. Patrick “inherits” his niece and nephew for the summer after the death of their mother and their father’s need for detox. As a single, gay man, he has no experience with raising children, especially two dealing with the loss of a parent. So, it’s a definite learning experience. I loved all three of them, even if, at times, Patrick comes across too much as Jack from Will and Grace. And I could definitely sympathize with Patrick, having no experience raising young kids myself.
The story was a perfect amuse-bouche for my soul, a diversion from serious family dramas and dark mysteries. But that’s not to say there were no serious issues. Siblings learn to deal with each other as adults. Everyone learning how to process their grief.
There’s a definite Auntie Mame feeling to the story. And I mean that in a good way. I’d be curious how many younger readers will get all the references. Steven Rowley wrote and narrates the story. His performance enhanced the story in a major way. This is one book I think truly is better as an audio experience.

3 people found this helpful

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LOVE LOVE LOVE

I LOVED this book so much. Rowley is such a fantastic teller, this is his second book I’ve read this year and I loved them both. The grief Patrick carries is real and he finally confronts while caring for his now grief stricken niece and nephew. I love his quirkiness and how much of a caregiver he truly became.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Just amazing.

This is a wonderful story. The added bonus of listening to it being read by the author gives the listener the confidence that they are hearing the characters exactly as they were created; exactly the nuances in personality that drive the story-
I hope this book becomes a movie (Really hope Dan Levy finds it!) so a broader audience can experience this truly lovely, funny, and heartwarming book.

3 people found this helpful

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Quirky, funny and beautiful story!

Such a great listen. An incredibly quirky, funny and heartwarming story of Gay Uncle Patrick helping his niece Maize and nephew Grant through grief and tragedy.

3 people found this helpful