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Book Club Questions for The Guncle by Steven Rowley

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Book club questions for The Guncle by Steven Rowley provides an in-depth look at this novel about grief and family. There will be spoilers so be sure to check out my spoiler-free review first.

Oh I just adored The Guncle! One of those novels that truly make you feel good. I loved Patrick and his relationship with his niece and nephew. It’s a very moving story in many ways.

If you haven’t read his previous novel, The Editor, yet. I highly recommend that one as well!

The Synopsis

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.

Book Club Questions for The Guncle

  1. Why did Greg ask Patrick to serve as the children’s caregiver for the summer?
  2. Through flashbacks, we learn how close Patrick and Sara were. What did you think about their friendship?
  3. What was behind the tension and friction between Clara and Patrick?
  4. Which ‘Guncle Rule’ is your favorite?
  5. Let’s talk about how Patrick shut himself off from the outside world after Joe died.
  6. Why did he give up acting?
  7. While there is a lot of humor in the book, there are plenty of poignant scenes as well. Which heartfelt scenes stuck out to you the most?
  8. How did this experience taking care of Maisie and Grant help him process his own grief and also be accepting of love?
  9. What did you think about the ending and Patrick’s return to acting? Will the kids spend every summer with Patrick going forward?
  10. What do you feel are some of the lessons from the book?
  11. The book will be updated for film – so exciting! Who do you think should play Patrick and other key roles?

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Guncle! Here are some more recommendations along with links book club questions.

The Editor by Steven Rowley

If you haven’t read The Editor yet, go out and get it now! A fantastic book.

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie–or Mrs. Onassis, as she’s known in the office–has fallen in love with James’s candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book’s forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can’t bring himself to finish the manuscript. 

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page… 

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny, poignant, and highly original novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor will change him forever–both as a writer and a son.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.


A Star is Bored by Byron Lane

If you loved Steven Rowley’s writing, you must check out Byron Lane’s (Steven’s husband!) novel, A Star is Bored. It’s fantastic.

She needs an assistant. 
He needs a hero. 

Charlie Besson is tense and sweating as he prepares for a wild job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and People magazine’s Worst Dressed list. She’s an actress in need of assistance, and he’s adrift and in need of a lifeline.

Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, and award-winning movie star, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in a blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known in another role: Outrageous Hollywood royalty. Admittedly so. Famously so. Chaotically so, as Charlie quickly discovers. 

Charlie gets the job, and his three-year odyssey is filled with late-night shopping sprees, last-minute trips to see the aurora borealis, and an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, and as their friendship grows Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own life’s leading role?

Laugh-out-loud funny, and searingly poignant, Byron Lane’s A Star is Bored is a novel that, like the star at its center, is enchanting and joyous, heartbreaking and hopeful.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.