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The Guncle

The Guncle, by Steven Rowley

12/60 | Started 02.27.23 • Finished 03.10.23 | 2.5 stars

I had a tough time with this one. I knew from the get-go that I wouldn't be in support of the main character's lifestyle, but it was February's book club read, and after a lot of thought I decided to go ahead with it.

It was the thing Patrick missed most about youth, the assumption that everything would just work itself out. That and his back not hurting.

The story follows Patrick, whose newly widowed brother Greg asks him to take his kids for a few months while he attends a nearby rehab facility. Patrick fumbles his way through the summer with Maisie and Grant, helping them through their grief with their living, and healing his own wounds in the process. I appreciated the book's themes of loss and grief and healing. How throwing yourself into others can often be a way out of yourself. How it's not healthy to hold on to grief in isolation.

“Grief orbits the heart. Some days the circle is greater. Those are the good days. You have room to move and dance and breathe. Some days the circle is tighter. Those are the hard ones.”

But I didn't agree with some of the books major themes, namely that love is love (it's not) and that doing whatever makes you happy is the right thing to do (it's not). These are things that I couldn't get past and affected my overall impression of the book.

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