Short Story Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

GrownupTitle: The Grownup
Author: Gillian Flynn
Anthology: None
Published: November 3, 2015
Genres: Fiction > Suspense
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

I first read this book last October, and I remember that I really enjoyed it. Since I pretty much have no memory, I couldn’t recall the details of the story, so I decided I’d reread it since I’ve been into rereading lately.

The story definitely starts off on a unique note with its first line: “I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it.”  The unnamed protagonist is smart and ambitious, if not a bit misguided. Throughout the whole story, there was a creepy atmosphere, some suspense, and a pretty big plot twist at the end. I was definitely creeped out both times I read it.

The last time I read the story, I remember feeling like the reveal at the end was a bit rushed, unrealistic, and stiff. I felt like the amount of depth and detail was uneven and much more heavy in the beginning than at the end where it was most needed. I didn’t enjoy the open-ended ending and I felt like Flynn could have added a bit more into the reveal or lengthened it into a full-length novel.

BUT this time around, I really enjoyed the lack of detail and the open-ended ending. I still think that it could be lengthened into a full-fledged novel, but I am okay with the way it ends now. The loose ends definitely add to the suspense and creepiness.

There were a few aspects that I didn’t notice last time I read the story, like the theme of karma. The protagonist is a fraud who makes a living by duping people, but she’s the one who gets duped in the end.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, fun, and creepy read.

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