View your shopping cart.

Primary links



A Hollywood star banishes himself to Palm Springs only to be thrust back into the limelight by, of all people, his young “niblings," or niece and nephew.

The children, Grant and Maisie, are 6 and 9, respectively, spending the summer with their Uncle Patrick, or GUP as they call him: Gay Uncle Patrick. One of the stars of the beloved TV sitcom The People Upstairs (think Friends), Patrick has for four years marooned himself in the desert, tetchy about his fame, his career, and his unresolved grief over the loss of his partner, Joe, the victim of a drunk driver. “He was so afraid people wouldn’t laugh if everyone knew how twisted he looked on the inside,” Rowley writes about Patrick. Self-critical but charming, suave yet insecure, Patrick is a memorable character, and it’s genuinely thrilling to read screenwriter-turned-novelist Rowley’s take on the mechanics of stardom, especially about a star who’s no longer young. Grant and Maisie are in Palm Springs because their mother has recently died and their father, Patrick’s brother, is near Palm Springs rehabbing from a drug addiction; Patrick becomes the niblings’ de-facto parent and therapist for the summer. The tension between Patrick and the kids initially manifests because their uncle doesn’t follow the same routines as their parents did, but it becomes clear that the maladjustment stems from a deeper wellspring of emotional turmoil. Patrick, meanwhile, hides his vulnerability and grief behind an armor of wit. He must learn to reveal his feelings and rejoin the world, and the children will help him do so. Although some of the plot is predictable (for example, the relationship between Patrick and young actor Emory), 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. - Sandy

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.

Publication Date: 
May 25, 2021