I’ve been meaning to pick up another Gillian Flynn book since reading Gone Girl over a year ago. Lately, I’ve been in the mood for something thrilling, but short, so I thought it was the perfect time to read The Grownup a short story/novella originally published under the title “What Do You Do?” in the Rogues anthology (edited by George R. R. Martin), which I also own, but haven’t tackled yet because it’s enormous. I’ve been meaning to read The Grownup for a while, since I keep hearing about it (and seeing it in Target). It was a very short read – it took me less than an hour – but that’s exactly what I was craving, and it really whetted my appetite for thrillers (I’m currently reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch).
The Grownup follows an unnamed female narrator who “naturally” progresses from giving hand jobs for a living to reading people’s auras. An autodidact, she’s intelligent and definitely not afraid to manipulate people. Looking for an opportunity to branch out, she sets her sight on wealthy and lonely Susan, a woman who believes there’s something wrong with her teenage stepson. She convinces Susan that her old house needs to be “cleansed,” which is basically an excuse to spend hours in Susan’s expansive library. But she can’t escape the feeling that the house wants her gone.
I thought The Grownup was enjoyable, and very characteristic of what I’ve come to expect from Gillian Flynn. I really enjoy how well she crafts morally ambiguous (or flat-out crazy) characters, and this book was no exception. I love reading about characters like this, because they are so different from myself – I would never purposely manipulate someone like that, so it’s kind of fun to read from the perspective of those types of characters.
I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that, while I give Flynn points for creating an unpredictable ending, I’m not sure I liked it all that much. It was confusing and weird, and, in my opinion, didn’t exactly fit the rest of the story. I was hoping for something impactful, but it almost just fizzled out, and I was left thinking, “That was it?” It just wasn’t quite what I wanted from this story.
Nevertheless, I think this was a fun short story, and a great choice if you’re looking for a fun afternoon read. If you are interested, I’d suggest looking into Rogues, rather than picking up this book as a standalone, because then you’ll get a plethora of other stories by a variety of authors (it’s just a better deal). If you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn and haven’t read this yet, it’s definitely something you’ll want to pick up.
Have you read The Grownup? If you have, what did you think of the ending (without spoiling it)? And if you haven’t, do you want to?