Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gunners” as Want to Read:
The Gunners
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gunners

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  4,483 ratings  ·  631 reviews
Achieving bold emotional complexity, The Gunners explores just how much one moment, one decision, or one person can change us

Following on her wonderfully received first novel, Another Place You’ve Never Been, called "mesmerizing," "powerful," and "gorgeous," by critics all over the country, Rebecca Kauffman returns with Mikey Callahan, a thirty-year-old who is suffering
...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Counterpoint
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Gunners, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Heidi Watson
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,483 ratings  ·  631 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Gunners
Elyse  Walters
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook...
TOTAL DELIGHT!!!
I can’t ever remember finishing an audiobook in two days. It’s simply a longer process than reading the same book.
But this was SO ENGAGING!!!!!
I was so involved with the characters and their stories, that I literally had my iPhone attached to me for 2 days —hours of listening without ever wanting a break.

For readers who enjoyed “St. Elmo’s Fire”, “The Big Chill”, “A Little Life”, there’s a great chance you’ll enjoy this story.
It’s heavily character driven.
Mikey,
...more
Larry H
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

From a young age, the six of them were inseparable friends—Mikey, Jimmy, Sam, Alice, Sally, and Lynn. They pranked and teased, protected and supported each other, and even helped each other cheat in school. They became The Gunners, after the name on the mailbox of the abandoned house in their neighborhood they took over as their de-facto clubhouse. Even into their teenage years, they knew they'd be friends forever. But of course, that wasn't what happened.

"As children, The Gunners
...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
They called themselves the Gunners after the name on the mailbox of the old, deserted house that they used as a meeting place. They had been friends since early grade school, shared pranks, secrets, were there for each other, were each other's safe place. Three boys, three girls, inseparable friends, until they are sixteen and Sally stops speaking to them. The other five profess not to know why this has happened, but she would never speak to them again. Mikey and Sallywould be the only ones to ...more
Debra
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The "Gunners" were a group of childhood friends (Mickey, Sally, Sam, Alice, Jimmy, Lynn) who named themselves after the family who owned the old abandoned house which they used as their hangout location. They were inseparable and had many adventures together, until one day Sally, broke apart from the group and never spoke to any of them. Losing one member, eventually drove them apart as the grew up and moved away. Mickey and Sally were the only ones who remained in their hometown, but still, ...more
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
The Gunners are a group of six childhood friends from Lackawanna, New York. Together they congregate for hours at an old abandoned house whose mailbox provides the group namesake “ The Gunners”. At sixteen, Sally exits the group without an explanation. The members are baffled by her actions but continue to meet until the end of high school. Fifteen years later, the group finally reconnects for Sally’s funeral.

They spend a weekend together reminiscing about their youth and sharing more recent
...more
Tammy
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Psssst. Do you want to know secrets? This book has many secrets; almost too many. A group of friends reunite after one of them commits suicide. Feeling The Big Chill? The narrative moves back and forth between childhood and adulthood as the group tries to make sense out of the senseless. There's gestalt going on here and one's perception of the truth will never equal but may exceed the whole truth. The writing is uneven. At times, I was reading literary fiction and exploring group dynamics as ...more
Dianne
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2018
On a recent vacation to Washington DC, my husband (a non-reader, but a very lovely man nonetheless) graciously agreed to stop by Politics and Prose bookstore, a visit that was somewhat of a “holy grail” mission for me. A number of my Goodreads friends live in the DC area and I have always been super jealous of their access to amazing author events. That particular Saturday, authors Mira T. Lee (“Everything Here is Beautiful”) and Rebecca Kauffman (“The Gunners”) were scheduled to present. As ...more
Bianca
What a wonderful, little gem of a novel this was.

Six childhood friends grow up, spread their wings and meet fifteen years later at one of their friend's funeral. Sally had committed suicide. She was special to all of them. Each of them knew different sides of Sally, while Sally knew secrets about each of them. Nobody really knew Sally, or each other, as a matter of fact. And isn't that the case about everyone we know?

Each and every individual has their own take on what had happened and why Sally
...more
Brandice
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Gunners is about a group of childhood friends who grew up outside Buffalo, returning as adults in their early 30s for a funeral, following the suicide of one of their group members, Sally.

Mikey and Sally remained in town while the others - Jimmy, Lynn, Sam, and Alice - all left after high school to pursue different education and careers. As they group reunites and reminisces about the past, deep, long-held secrets are revealed. They each feel responsible in some way or another for
...more
PattyMacDotComma
3.5
“Issa said, ‘Do you want to know what my mom used to say about honest questions?’ ‘What’s that?’
‘They can be like farts. It feels good to let them out, but once you do, sometimes they just make the whole room stink.’
Everyone laughed, including Sam.


The Gunners are adults here, with their partners, sharing feelings, asking questions, and revealing secrets. They are five of the six kids who used to use an abandoned house with the name “gunners” on the mailbox. Because it became their house,
...more
Perry
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Splendid, easy-on-the-eyes novel exploring friendships and friends we relish and reminisce, and moments we regret, from our youth, and deftly displaying love's legion latitudes and lambencies. 4.5 The characters' emotions are raw, true and human, moreso than in nearly all novels I have read. And yet, Ms. Kauffman never seemed to be aiming at a reaction from me, as reader. That combo is special. Really special.

I loved this little novel. I lapped it like a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Diane Barnes
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm going with 5 stars for this one, because it made me want to be a better person, better wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. Oh, the things we don't know about other people! The holes in their hearts, the needs they never voice, the pain they keep inside. Being human carries a lot of baggage, even for the lucky ones.

"That word "love"... It was scary and outlandish to him. But what was life if not a long series of scary and outlandish things you did and said and asked of your heart, so
...more
Cheri
4.5 Stars

“Now, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend
When people can be so cold?
They'll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh, but don't you let them

-- You've Got a Friend, Carole King, Songwriters: Carole King

They were childhood friends, the six of them, Alice, Sally, Lynn, Jimmy, Sam and Mikey. They gathered together often in a house abandoned by theGunners family in their neighborhood in Lackawanna, New York throughout their childhood. It became like
...more
Jessica Sullivan
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my heart. This book really snuck up on me. It reminded me of a 80s movie, like The Big Chill or The Breakfast Club or IT without the horror parts.

They call themselves The Gunners, a group of childhood friends who, in spite of being very different, become bonded at a young age. Years later, when they’re all in their early 30s, they reunite when a member of the group commits suicide.

Over the course of this short novel, we come to know each of The Gunners through their weekend together at Sally
...more
Nadia
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars

"The Gunners" are a group of six childhood friends who reunite when one of them, Sally, commits suicide. Sally stopped talking to the rest of the group when they were 16. The others keep in touch, however, as everyone moves out of town, the contact is limited. When they finally all meet at the funeral, they revisit the past and a few old secrets are revealed.

Perhaps because I read so many great books this year, I was not wowed by this. Don't get me wrong, it is a good book and a couple
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Perfect. I loved it. As my friend Diane said in her review, it makes me want to be a better person to better cherish those I love. I almost devoured it in one sitting.
☮Karen
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I saw some friends' 5 star reviews and knew I had to read this. I listened to the very excellent audio rendition, finished in a day, and started over again from the beginning. Did not want it to end. I adored the characters, especially Mikey, and Alice delivered all the lines that had me laughing out loud. She was tough on the outside but was kindness and goodness to her core. Mikey was just a sweetheart and his story touched my heart. I imagined this would be like The Big Chill, and it had lots ...more
Camie
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"For we live with those retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are songlike in their refrains and rhymes, making up a single monologue. We live permanently in the recurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell. "
From Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje.
For me this book is in the category of I just picked it up and didn't mean to read it in one day, and I predict it's a book we'll be
...more
Jennifer Blankfein
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are craving a bit of Big Chill nostalgia this summer, The Gunners is a great choice! Childhood relationships are revisited when six friends return to their hometown for a funeral of one of their own who committed suicide. Each character feels some responsibility for the departure of their late friend and they reveal secrets from their past they had kept from others in the group. As much as they knew and loved each other as kids, their sometimes distorted perspectives were shaped by what ...more
Fatma
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: skim-read, lgbtqia
*sigh* this was aggressively mediocre, somehow

I don't know what's been going on with me lately but omg have I been reading the most boring medicore painfully vanilla books


The Gunners is the latest in a string of Meh books I've recently read and instantly regretted reading. First of all, I could not tell you anything about this book to save my life. I don't even know what the point of this book was. Someone committed suicide and then some people met and talked about things and that was it. The
...more
Lisa
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-favorites
I didn't fall in love with this novel until after the halfway point. Perhaps because later in the novel, the focus on the six childhood friends pivots more towards their adult lives. Or perhaps because I grew to appreciate Mikey more and more with each page. But suddenly I couldn't put the novel down and this group of people entered my heart.

I can't remember the last time a book made me cry. By the time I read the last paragraph (which I read several times) I was sobbing. Not because the ending
...more
Laura
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this one. Mikey was my favorite character. And you are perfect just the way you are!!!! Beautiful book on family and friends. Displays the good, the bad and the ugliness of relationships. Great read!
Antoinette
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a perfect book to end the year on and the perfect first book of 2020!
This is a book about enduring friendships. We meet “the Gunners”, a group of childhood friends, who come together at the funeral of one of their own- Sally, who committed suicide.

They have not seen each other in 15 years and this is a chance to reconnect. They never lost that underlying connection, but sharing their memories of Sally makes them realize that Sally was the one who knew them all the best. Why did she
...more
debra
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: available
4.5*s Really enjoyed this one on audio. Maybe started a tad slow, but then it has you. Read the top-notch reviews written by Larry H, and Diane S.
Sonja Arlow
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This was a sneaky little book. It slowly lured me in until I was completely under its spell.

I started reading this thinking it’s a nice and easy read about the lives and secrets of childhood friends. Some of which I liked better than others.

But towards the 2/3 mark I found myself really caring for all them, even Alice who initially irritated the ever living crap out of me.

Six neighbourhood friends who named themselves “The Gunners” suddenly fractures in high school when Sally breaks
...more
Lauren
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't like putting negative energy out into the universe, but I have to let you know that I was not a fan of this book. I found the plot trite and overdone. Macular degeneration? I just read All The Light We Cannot See, which does it 100 times better. Friends in a small town and the intimate dynamics between them? Where to begin! I've read dozens of books with very similar premises. And for a book to have a lackluster overarching concept, in my opinion, it needs to be really well-done. ...more
Elaine Mullane
If there is one kind of story I am powerlessly drawn to, it is that of childhood friends who find solace in each other's company and strength in collective loyalty. The feeling of adolescent understanding and acceptance weaved with memory is a powerful and emotive theme in any story and I am a sucker for it (think: Stand By Me, IT, Stranger Things, Now & Then).

Enter "The Gunners", a group of six friends who take their moniker from the mailbox of an old, abandoned house where they met as
...more
Jeremy Anderson
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
The cover art is gorgeous, but unfortunately the book is a bit of a downer. I now need to go watch the movie Babel to cheer myself up.

The Gunners is a nice portrait of friendship and shows how our presence can affect those around us. I enjoyed the concept of a group of childhood friends getting back together and reminiscing about the past, but by the end, the book felt a bit too ridiculous to be serious, and a bit too serious to be enjoyed. Each character has their own unbelievably heartbreaking
...more
Canadian
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
A pretty lacklustre redo of an equally unspectacular film—The Big Chill, only with Generation X characters. Instead of friends who met in college, we have friends who met in childhood and used to congregate in abandoned house (formerly owned by “The Gunners”) in Lackawanna, a derelict suburb of Buffalo, New York. The greater part of the book consists of conversation and spilled secrets when the group meets for a funeral. (One of the friends commits suicide when all of the friends are in their ...more
Kelly
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
The Gunners are a group of childhood friends who reunite after the suicide death of Sally, one of the members. Sally had left the group during high school before the rest disbanded after graduation. Each member of the group feels some responsibility for Sally's death based on past secrets. This is a lovely tale of friendship that lasts over time, individual moments that change things, and forgiveness. I loved each one of the unique and well-drawn characters. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Laura & Emma
  • The Incendiaries
  • The Female Persuasion
  • The Mars Room
  • The Great Believers
  • You Think It, I'll Say It
  • All This Could Be Yours
  • Trust Exercise
  • The Ensemble
  • Tangerine
  • There There
  • The Dreamers
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • Everything Here Is Beautiful
  • Florida
  • My Ex-Life
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation
  • Clock Dance
See similar books…
106 followers
Rebecca Kauffman is originally from rural northeastern Ohio. She received her B.A. from the Manhattan School of Music in Violin Performance, and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from NYU. She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“He said, “I think at various times in life we’re either more or less true to who we really are.” 9 likes
“What’s the alternative to living with something that hurts?” Alice said. “Jump off a bridge?” She hesitated. “I don’t mean that as a joke. How does anybody live with anything? You just . . . march on, I guess, even when your heart’s not in it.” 5 likes
More quotes…