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’ve said it a million times and I will say it again, Gillian Flynn is an evil mastermind. She’s brilliant and she has yet to disappoint me with any of her writings and “The Grownup” is definitely no exception.
So the beginning of the book introduces us to our nameless MC who narrates the entire book, she’s exactly the type of heroine you come to love and expect in any of Flynn’s stories. She’s flawed, manipulative, and clever. She’s not afraid to do anything it takes to get what she wants including screwing you over completely. I said she’s manipulative and that’s really the best word to describe her.
From there we escalate towards our MC being invited over to Carterhook Manor to do a cleansing of the house. Susan, the client, believes the house is harming her stepson by turning him into an evil, harmful, and maybe even murderous monster. His name is Miles and let me tell you he’s the scariest part of the whole book, he makes Damien Thorn from “The Omen” seem like a saint.
Granted Miles is 15 and not 5 but you get the point, the kid is scary as hell.
Anyways though our MC tells Susan she can cleanse the house and cure her stepson, which is basically her way of extorting money. She knows she can’t really help them but she’ll pretend to in order to get paid. Though once some creepy stuff starts happening our MC realizes she needs to get the hell out of Dodge, she then tells Susan she needs to seek out real help because she can’t help her.
This is where you’ll start trying to figure out if the story is just another thriller or if there’s actually something paranormal happening in the house.
The homestretch of the book is where we get slapped with not ONE but at least two or three plot twists that you will not see coming at all. This is a book by Gillian Flynn after all so of course you won’t see it coming. They’ll leave you wondering what the hell you just read.
My one complaint is the open ending, we’re left to determine what happened ourselves. I’m all for it if it’s done right but this was just a little too unexplained for my tastes.
I’m still really happy with the book it’s true to Flynn’s writing style and I’m a big fan of hers so obviously I loved this one as well as all of her others. I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on whatever else she’ll be writing in the future.
Yes, I recommend this to anyone looking for a short story that will absolutely blow your mind and if you enjoyed any of Flynn’s other books I definitely recommend reading this one as well.
However if you’ve never read Flynn I would recommend waiting with this one until you’ve read at least one of her other books. I just feel like for your first Flynn book it should be something else that isn’t so open ended. I would recommend starting with “Sharp Objects” (click here for review).
6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn”