05 Sep / The Guncle by Steven Rowley [in Booklist]
Titles about lonely survivors with just the right balance of lightening humor and lasting gravitas make for an undeniably popular genre. Think international sensation A Man Called Ove, whose global mega-success probably fueled the popularity of acerbic-but-redeemable-left-behinds-who-get-happy-endings sort of books.
Steven Rowley’s latest is a prime example, superbly improved by his own fabulous narration: the former screenwriter knows exactly how to entertain his audience.
Patrick O’Hara hasn’t retired so much as he’s hiding out in Palm Springs. The once-upon-a-time TV star is still occasionally recognized, he’s never quite recovered from losing the love of his life to a drunk driver, and now his best-friend-turned-sister-in-law Sara is dead from illness. Patrick’s widowed younger brother is headed to rehab after using pills to cope and entrusts his beloved children, 6-year-old Grant and 9-year-old Maisie, to GUP, that is, Gay Uncle Patrick, for 90 days. Their summer together will, of course, be a transformative experience for the trio.
Between luppers, a pink Christmas tree in July, Wang Chung’s third-best single, and a plethora of Guncle Rules, Patrick and his niblings will each figure out how to re-enter the world with utter aplomb! Rowley never misses a cue, his delivery always pristine, his engagement never wavering.
Review: “Media,” Booklist, August 2021