The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup CoverAfter reading plenty of negative reviews, I was expecting a bit of a let down with this novella, originally published in George R.R. Martin’s Rogues anthology in 2014. However, since I’ve devoured every other book by Gillian Flynn, I decided to read The Grownup as a standalone book anyway. I surprisingly and happily enjoyed this creepy little treat quite a bit.

As usual, Gillian Flynn creates an in-your-face, kickass female protagonist–this one reads auras and gives hand jobs for a living. I loved the up front way the narrator (her name is never given) discussed men and what they desire, while also being a little disturbed by it. Though that frankness IS what appeals to me in every Gillian Flynn novel. She gives just enough polish to allow for surprise at the dark and disgusting undertones.

The narrator visits an old Victorian house of a client named Susan Burke to check out the bleeding walls (you know, typical fraudulent “psychic” stuff) and is assaulted instead with creepy conversations with Susan and her disturbed teenage son. From here, the tale gets twisty–it almost seemed like Flynn couldn’t be bothered to decide how to end her story, so instead chose to offer a few possible outcomes to puzzle the reader.

I could get behind the troubled teen son of a distant father and paranoid step-mother in a haunted house until that end, where things got a little too tangled up for me. The narrator’s voice was spectacular, but the ending wasn’t satisfying enough to justify five stars. Although the plot wasn’t perfectly developed, Flynn’s writing style and ability to blend humor and terror are strong enough to make this short book worth reading.

TITLE: The Grownup
AUTHOR: Gillian Flynn
ALSO WROTE: Gone Girl, Dark Places
FIRST LINE: I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it.
FAVORITE LINE: I quit because when you give 23,546 hand jobs over a three-year period, carpal tunnel syndrome is a very real thing.

[Note: given that the protagonist admits she has a 6 day work week but does not work holidays, this means she gives approximately 25 hand jobs a day. Carpal tunnel indeed.]

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