Saturday 30 September 2023

Book ~ "The Guncle" (2021) Steven Rowley

From Goodreads ~ 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 a bit out of his league.

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 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.

Patrick and Sara were best friends in university and she ended up marrying his brother, Greg, and they had two children. Patrick's partner, Joe, had been killed in an accident years ago and he is still grieving ... he gave up his life as an actor in L.A. and moved to Palm Springs living in almost seclusion. When Sara got sick and was dying, Greg became addicted to drugs to cope. When she died, he knew he had to get better so checked himself into rehab for 90 days. He asked Patrick to take care of his young children while he was gone.

Patrick just wants to be left alone but knows he has to do this for Sara and Greg. Maisie and Grant move to California for the summer and it is an adjustment for the three of them. Patrick isn't used to having children around (or really anyone) and the children are grieving for their mother. They adapt to Patrick's ways like having lupper (a mid afternoon meal ... lunch + supper) rather than a later supper and not really having a schedule. Patrick knows he has to help Maisie and Grant heal and realizes that he too needs healing so he can get on with his life.

This was the first book I've read by this author and it was cute. I liked Patrick's manner and his interactions with the Maisie and Grant). It is written in third person perspective with the focus Patrick. As a head's up, there is swearing (which Maisie and Grant initially call him on but eventually get used to).

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