The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Genre: Literary/General FictionRoses in test tube
Publisher: Celadon Books
Pub. Date: May 31, 2022

I was first introduced to the talented author when I read her novel “The Plot,” a witty thriller that was turned into a TV series. This novel reads like a dramedy revolving around a wealthy, unhappy NYC family. We follow the Oppenheim triplets, a girl and two boys, which their mother desperately wanted, and had to endure numerous attempts with In vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive. From birth, the triplets never had the kind of close bond that their mother expected them to have. Actually, the siblings seem to loath one another, which makes for entertaining dialogue between them. Most of the time, the mother is the only character that you will like. Just as the triplets are leaving for college, they learn that a fourth sibling, the long-gestating egg from their in-vitro procedure, is on the way—the “latecomber.” Korelitz keeps us in suspense wondering what role the “latecomer,” a second sister, will play in this odd group. Will she help heal or move the family even further apart? Through her quirky characters, loss, guilt, trauma, and privilege are explored because of the family’s experiences. Korelitz is known for her rich character studies, which are evident in “Latecomer.” It is hard not to cringe and smile simultaneously while reading this funny yet poignant family narrative.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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“The Guncle” by Steven Rowley

The Guncle

Genre: Comedy-Drama/LGBTQ
Publishers: G.P. Putnam
Pub. Date: May 25, 2021


Although “The Guncle” deals with young children losing their mother to cancer as their father checks into rehab for addiction, it’s still a funny, feel-good read. Expect to laugh a lot. While dad gets his act together (he is a good dad), the kids leave their Connecticut home and travel to California to spend the summer with their gay Uncle Patrick, who they call GUP. Patrick is a former TV star who became a shut-in following the death of his partner. At first, he’s a fish out of water with the kids, which makes for some very funny dialogue. But, he rather quickly turns into a combination of Uncle Joey and Uncle Jesse from “Full House.” You get the picture. When he isn’t poking fun at his own vanity, or that of the Hollywood cliques with which he used to run, Patrick is busy answering the kids’ many questions with panache. Between laughs, Rowley manages to make the reader feel genuine grief for the children’s and Patrick’s loss. Without being preachy, he gives us a credible glimpse of the difficulties of being a gay man in a straight world.  Of course, the uncle and kids help each other heal. However, you won’t mind the clichés. In this type of tale, you expect the obvious. Think “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. Predictable, yes, but also a delight. It ends (spoiler) with a return to show business—with the help of his six-year-old nephew, ten-year-old niece, and pinch a of YouTube magic, our hero makes a well-earned comeback.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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