It’s the first Sunday of May and that means it’s time for a short story review – this week I finally got around to reading The Grownup by Gillian Flynn.
From the back cover:
A young woman is making a living faking it as a cut-price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke.
Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year-old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural. However when she enters the house for the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time. . .
Gillian Flynn is probably most well known for her book, Gone Girl, which I really enjoyed so I was excited to read this short story, until….. I started reading Dark Places and ended up not finishing it. That caused The Grownup to sit on my shelf for a considerably long time as I was worried which side of the fence I’d end up on but alas after reading it yesterday, I’m still on the fence….
Not because I didn’t like this one, I absolutely did! I enjoyed the humour of the main protagonist, who has to give up her profession as an ‘expert hand-job giver’ – her words not mine, due to the strain it puts on her wrist; she has now turned her hand (metaphorically) to being a psychic. The more time she spends in Carterhook manor getting to know Susan and her stepson, Miles, the more she wonders if the house is really haunted or if it’s the occupants who are evil.
This is essentially a mystery of who to trust – a woman who makes a living out of deception must now figure out if she is being deceived, an entertaining and quick read. My issue lies in the ending, now I’m often a fan of the open ending [when it’s done properly], I like that it leaves the book lingering in my mind as I weigh the information and decide who to believe, but here, the ending did nothing but frustrate me. As a short story, I don’t feel I was given enough information to make a decision and thus I’m left feeling the story is unfinished. I get what Flynn did with the ending but I guess I would have liked more of a hint on where the plot would have gone had it been a full novel.
But overall, If you can get your hands on a copy, at just under 70 pages, why not give it a read and see if your thoughts match up to mine.
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