Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: "The Grownup" by Gillian Flynn

Even in short story form, Gillian Flynn presents the high suspense, twisting reality that fans began to expect following Gone Girl's success. The Grownup is under 65 pages and has a small trim size, so the story is indeed very, very short. Plan to spend less than an hour devouring this read. I'd say it's about the length of two chapters of a novel, which is actually a helpful way of understanding this book. The first half is basically a character sketch - going deep into the history and motivations of our unnamed narrator. From learning to be a con-artist from her mother, to delving into prostitution, to pretending to be psychic, her past is captivating in how she shows her ability to read, understand, and therefore manipulate, people.

 For the second half, she explores her next entrepreneurial enterprise - home visits. A worried client, Susan, visits the psychic shop repeatedly before fully explaining that she fears her house is haunted and has been negatively affecting her stepson, making him  as evil as the darkness the house seems to exhale. The psychic agrees to help, thinking this a quick scam to make some good money, but she soon realizes that something strange is going on, and that her fake psychic cleansing remedy won't save the family, or herself.

Originally published as "What Do You Do?" in George R.R. Martin's Rogues anthology, this ghostly tale of deception is suspenseful even in its brevity. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the short story, the plot twists are so sharp, with one following immediately after another, that the ending feels rushed and compressed. You don't have time to process one change before something new happens.  It's still a great read for a quick thriller as long as you're ready for just how quick it will be.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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