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The Grownup

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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.

“The Grownup,” originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology.

64 pages, Hardcover

First published June 17, 2014

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About the author

Gillian Flynn

28 books82.4k followers
Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master's degree from Northwestern University.

Review Quotes:
"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre."
–Stephen King

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5 stars
21,623 (17%)
4 stars
43,879 (35%)
3 stars
42,091 (34%)
2 stars
11,756 (9%)
1 star
3,277 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,224 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,946 reviews292k followers
September 26, 2015
The first part of this short story is... expected. It is exactly what I would expect from Gillian Flynn. An unnamed female narrator manipulates people every day in her job - from giving hand jobs to wealthy men to reading people's "auras".
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.

She's smart, ambitious and perceptive. She has a laid back attitude towards sex, even as a form of manipulation. And she isn't afraid to screw people over to better herself. This is a character we would expect from Flynn.

However, the middle part of the story was, for me, the strongest. It is definitely very creepy and leaves you wondering whether this is a thriller or whether something supernatural is happening. Very psychological, very scary, and with twists and turns I didn't see coming.

The final third of the book, though, was where things got a little nuts. "Reveals" and "twists" went back on themselves (or did they?) and the ending gives us nothing. Ambiguous endings work sometimes, but this was a little too much of a non-ending for me.
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
holiday hand jobs are sad for everyone.

2/3 of this story is fantastic. the ending is not.

you know how at the end of clue, you get a reasonable explanation for the murders and then this flashes on the screen:

followed by a less-satisfying solution

and then this

followed by the big, silly ensemble ending? that's kind of what this feels like, but with all the fun sucked out. clue can get away with twisting and turning and running all over the place making no sense and just having a good time because it's a campy screwball movie the whole way through. the way the ending of this story turns back on itself and says "but how about this?" feels less like a fun "gotcha!" than a writer still trying to decide how she wants her story to end.

the main problem is that i don't understand the frame of this story. the voice is excellent, and it showcases flynn's mastery of writing sympathetic bad-girl characters - in this case a woman with lots of stamina and no pride, taught the art of the sympathy-con as a little girl at her lazy mother's knee, through which experiences she learned the fine art of reading people: pinpointing what they want and how they want to see themselves and manipulating these into profit.

she's transitioning out of the soft-core sex trade, where For three years, I gave the best hand job in the tristate area because of health reasons:

I quit because when you give 23,546 hand jobs over a three-year period, carpal tunnel syndrome is a very real thing.

fortunately, Spiritual Palms is a business that provides handies in the back room, divination in the front, and for someone who has spent her life picking her marks and manipulating and milking them for results (and of course i am talking about her sob-story begging here, why you so scandalous?), aura-based spiritual advisory is a career that comes naturally.

when a client named susan burke comes to her with problems she is having with her stepson and the possibility that she has just moved into a haunted house, our "psychological intuitive" thinks JACKPOT! and offers susan her "domestic aura-cleansing" services:

Basically when someone moves into a new home, they call you. You wander around the house burning sage and sprinkling salt and murmuring a lot. Fresh start, wipe away any lingering bad energy from previous owners.

susan accepts and then things start to get reeeeal spooky for our retired hand-jobber.

and then the story changes from brassy sassy congirl story into gothic horror story, which is like changing from peanut butter into a unicorn. (for those of you who don't speak "karen," that translates into "unexpected, but equally awesome.") and it continues to be great (really great) and probably should have ended with But I wasn't a well-read bookworm; I was just a dumb whore in the right library.


because after that, it's a bit too much this and then THIS and then THIS!

and it devolves from a funny/gripping/spooky story into exposition town.

so now that that's all out of the way, i can finally talk about frame. my problem is that i don't know who this is narrated to - it's all in first-person declarative from our unnamed narrator, and it's in this provocative tone - all breezy insouciance that sounds half-performative, with all the clever-clever judgments

*Feeling sad means having too much time on your hands, usually. Really. I'm not a licensed therapist but usually it means too much time.

*People are dumb. I'll never get over how dumb people are.

*Money is wasted on the rich.

but also this:

So don't listen to that bitch Shardelle when she says I quit because I didn't have the talent.

which is clearly a defensive sentence directed at a listener, but who is the listener? there's no other mention of shardelle or why she would be throwing shade at our girl, and i just don't understand when this story is being told, or to whom.

it's a shame, because i loved the narrator's sex work observations - they reminded me of all the best parts of Going Down, and i loved the house and the kid and the cat and the way that part of the story was built up, but the ending was such a letdown. i think this story needed to either be longer, to explain its shape, or shorter to edit out the tacked-on weight.

but i would be perfectly willing to five-star the first 2/3 of this. i am doing that now in my heart.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews61.2k followers
December 11, 2018
read it for the first time in the Rogues anthology and loved it. bought it as it's own copy and loved it even more the second time around.
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,101 followers
February 20, 2017

Let me just start by saying- I am a huge Gillian Flynn fan. I loved Dark Places more than words can say- and I adored Gone Girl. So I am not one of the "what is all the hype about?" people.

...but where THE GROWN UP is concerned....I don't get it. This is just not good. Not good at all.

It started out good.

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I am not a person easily shocked or put off by unlikable characters doing smutty things.

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So when the story started out with a women who gave perfect hand jobs- I said "YAY!!! Way to go you perfect handjob giver." *applause*- We all need to have something we are proud of...and why not that? I am sure perfect hand jobs have saved North America from imploding numerous times. So good for yooooou.

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...but tragedy strikes quite quickly....

Ms. Handjob Girl- works at Spiritual Palms- a place that provides hand jobs at the back- while giving psychic readings out front. After her wrists give out- her boss suggests maybe she would be more suited to front-like-duties and Ms. Handjob says a BIG....YES to that.

Enter customer Susan...

Susan comes in claiming that either her house is haunted or her step son is evil...or possibly both- but whatever is going on she needs help, and she has ooooodles of money- and Ms. Handjob sees an opportunity to make a name for herself...and wants to grab some of the oodles for her own. Who doesn't want oodles?

So the smut...takes a ghostly turn...and it still worked.

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It was creepy!!...but then creepy turned to...what the hell? What the HELL?

I am not a fan of detailed explanations at the end. The few times I tolerate it- have Miss Marple, Hercules Poirot, or Scooby Doo involved. If a mystery needs one of the characters to have a looooooong monologue explaining what has happened. I usually take off some points....and here I am doing that BIG TIME.

This veeeeeeeeeeeery short story- was 2/3s explanation at the end. Which makes me feel that it should have been a bigger story- not a short one. There was just too much going on to resolve it in 100 pages...or so.

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Sorry Gillian- I do love you- really.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,115 reviews3,547 followers
January 9, 2016
I loved the book! What better compliment can I say?


Gillian Flynn! You did it again!

I loved to read this short story!

I loved how Gillian Flynn, the author, played with my brain. At the end of the reading, my mind was so screwed up (but in the good way!), that I was thankful that she didn’t gave up a clear explanation about what just happened in those couple of hours while I was engaging into the book.

Sometimes you need explanations, and I have no doubt that some people need those explanation all the time, but in my case, all depends about each reading’s journey in particular. There are books where I hated when they don’t explain what the heck is going on, but here, at least for me, it was a wonderful demented trip where I am truly glad that no clear explanation was given. You have to choose what you think was the truth, if there is something as that in this clever story.

There are moments when you are grateful with the author for a guiding hand through the narrative, but for me, this wasn’t one of those moments. I enjoyed to be in the middle of that twisted tale, not knowing what was happening, and even better finishing the reading and still not knowing for sure what the heck happened.


I think that a key element that helped me to enjoy that much this book, it was that it was a short story.

I guess that after investing several days (sometimes even weeks or months) reading a thick book, you definitely aren’t in the mood of finishing it without a clear explanation of what really happened.

However, in the brief boundaries of a short story (where at least I only invested two hours) I think that you can find the appealing of ending the reading still with doubts, uncertainties, foggy scenarios, where you need to choose what you believe was the reality, or even why not? Leaving the book with its enigmas. Life is good with some mysteries on it. When you know everything about something or someone, the interest severely decreases.

Again, in my particular case, I know that it helps that it was a short story to be able to enjoy the ride, where I read a tale where Gillian Flynn exploited what I like the most of her writing style: engaging narrative where you really feel that the chosen narrator is talking to you in an openly way, and her characters’ development is quite believable.

I do hope that Gillian Flynn would write more short stories, even publishing an anthology, many acomplished novelists have been successful with short stories’ collections too.

Profile Image for Jaidee .
572 reviews1,071 followers
August 21, 2019
1 "this short story is the biggest scam and piece of crap" stars !!

2016 Book I was most afraid to Hate (Runner Up)

This book f'in infuriated me!

Some of you know I was not a big fan of Gone Girl (2.5 star read). Not badly written but ridiculous.

Yesterday we were in Indigo bookstore and they were selling this little piece of doo-doo for $12.99.
Can you f'in believe it?

This is the biggest sociopathic money-grab I've seen in publishing.

I read this in 25 minutes and I borrowed it from the library.

Waste of time about a poor con-artist who tells fortunes and gives handjobs who gets caught up with a rich con-artist and her disturbed stepson. Blah blah blah boring boring boring bullshit story.

This book is a mirror to the unethicalness of releasing this shitty story as a stand-alone and having consumers buy it. Whoever paid $12.99 for this?...my heart sincerely goes out to you.

Ms. Flynn I will never give you a penny of my money ever again. Shame on you!!!

The rant is done. I am bloody maaaaaaad.

Addendum: Could it be that my first read of the year is the worst of the year? Perhaps it means that the rest of my reads will be wonderful, insightful and glorious :)
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
307 reviews2,342 followers
December 30, 2017
This is a short story, people! Don’t get your panties in a twist saying you don’t understand such a short weird novel. Yes, it’s short! Yes, it’s weird and dark. HELLERRRRRR...it’s Gillian Flynn 😍😍

If the old Twilight tv show and the lovely Black Mirror series were shaken and stirred..... well, you would have this itty bitty book to drive you crazy.

I love a great short story, typically they concentrate on creating a mood, rather than a plot. Flynn does not disappoint with The Grownup. It’s funny, sarcastic and witty. And readable in 45 minutes! If you’re aching for Flynn’s next blockbuster novel, this baby should help tide the cravings. It can also help you meet your GR reading goal😂
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,047 reviews2,051 followers
June 20, 2022
When a fake cut-price psychic visits a scary “haunted” Victorian house called Caterhook Manor of Susan Burke to help her escape from terror and grief, she had no clue that she would have to face enormous obstacles and that her concept of ghosts and exorcism might change forever. The events following that will take us for an exciting ride.

Gillian Flynn is one of my favorite authors. I had no clue that she wrote a fourth book until last Wednesday. So as soon I saw this book, I bought it and finished reading it.

What I learned from this book
1) A new cause for Carpal tunnel syndrome
There are many causes for carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve compression in the carpal tunnel) mentioned in the Medical literature.

Its main risk factors are diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, High Blood Pressure, and Rheumatoid arthritis. I had never thought about a cause for it mentioned in this book, though. (I can't explain more about it here as it will be a spoiler)
“I quit my job after a three-year period, as carpal tunnel syndrome is a very real thing.”

2) Why are some people easily offended
The protagonist in this book mentions that people in the upper-middle class and lower-upper class are easily offended. She also divulges multiple rationales behind it in several parts of this book.
“These are people whose primary purpose is to live in the city but feel like they are in the suburbs”

3) Our choice of books help us to built friendship with people from any class

The protagonist, who struggles to make ends meet, made a friendship with a rich guy Michael partially due to their common interest in books. Books are the best friends we can have and also can help us get the best friends.
“The only thing I really knew about Mike was he loved books. He recommended books with the fervor I’ve always craved as an aspiring nerd: with urgency and camaraderie. You have to read this! Pretty soon, we had our own private book club.”

My favorite three lines from this book
“How do you keep a thousand books in one room and then call the room a den?”

“An angry stepson and a husband who was always away, no wonder she let her mind go to dark places.”

“Empathetic silence is one of the most underused weapons in the world.”

What I didn’t like in this book
It is too short for having too many plot twists. It lacked the X factor, which is commonly seen in books written by Gillian Flynn.

3/5 This book is a good one time read. But I think it could have been a better one if the author could have strived a little bit harder.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,113 reviews8,043 followers
March 5, 2016
It takes some serious skill to write a story that is so layered and has such well-developed characters in only 65 pages. But leave it to Gillian Flynn to do it. I loved this modern take on the classic haunted house story. It's messed up and so well executed. She's really great at creating voices that are identifiable and confidently written. Once again I'm out of Flynn material to read. Can't wait for whatever she comes up with next.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,415 reviews7,421 followers
November 4, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Before I begin this “review” – here’s a little Public Service Announcement for all you fine folks. While The Grownup had a publication date of yesterday – the story actually came out back in 2014 under the title What Do You Do? (Sidenote: New title is mucho better) which was contained in the short story collection Rogues. When I hopped over to the library website there were FIFTY people ahead of me for The Grownup. There were zero for Rogues. Ha! Take that stupids! This little experiment also proved (once again) that . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

Now, on to the story. Don’t let my rating fool you – it’s because I fail at short stories, not because the story itself was a failure. The Grownup is the tale of a woman who had a pretty horrible childhood. Forced to panhandle by her lazy sloth of a mother, she took the first chance that came her way in order to escape. That chance came at a place called “Spiritual Palms” . . .

I’d answered an ad for a receptionist. It turned out “receptionist” meant “hooker.”

Like déjà vu all over again. No worries, my dear MC – it happens to the best of us.

It’s at Spirutal Palms where our leading lady makes a real name for herself – in the form of rubber-gloving-up and performing 23,456 handies over a three-year period . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

Unfortunately, with that much repeated hand motion carpal tunnel syndrome was inevitable. Lucky for our MC she was also blessed with an ability to see auras which led to a job not in the sticky back room. That is where she meets Susan, a wealthy woman who is experiencing some difficulty adjusting to life in her renovated mansion, as well as with her stepson. The boy seems a little . . . off. Or maybe he’s just pubing out? I don’t know. I have a teenager and I’m always struggling to figure out if he’s possessed by a demon or simply hormonal . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

Whatever the case may be, it’s Flynn so some twists and turns and stuff and things then ensue. And then? Well, then it ended. Dammit! I was just getting warmed up. But again, it’s Flynn. I have a feeling her response to my cries of wanting more of her story would be something like this . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

I did indeed whatever. Pass me another cup of Kool-Aid, you booktease. I’m still thirsty.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,868 reviews69.2k followers
December 2, 2020
Take a potentially haunted house...


Then toss in a creepy fucking kid.


Add in a retired handjob "specialist" with carpal tunnel, turned psychic grifter who (kinda/sorta) grows a conscience.
At which time she learns something the rest of us already know.
No good deed goes unpunished.


And there you have the recipe for a short story by Gillian Flynn and a fun way to spend your lunch hour.
I listened to the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group audiobook read by Julia Whelan.

Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,572 followers
February 23, 2018
A 64 pages like..having A Hand Job..

..for the mind
by A Real Hand Job & "Aura read" expert, A Desperate Housewife, An Ancient Creepy Victorian House, A Wicked 15 years old boy -but looks 12- AND Gillian Flynn herself.

Gone Girl جيليان فلين مؤلفة
ستتلاعب بعقلك بشكل جهنمي هنا،مع فتاة خبيرة في منح الرجال العادة السرية وأيضا قراءات هالات البشر الروحية , ربة منزل بائسة, منزل فيكتوري مقبض مرعب , وطفل غريب الأطوار في الخامسة عشر من عمره -شكله فقط 12 عاما- لمدة 64 صفحة

بصراحة لا أنكر انني صدمت بالسطر الأول من الرواية.ومهنة البطلة ...لا أدري إن ترجمها مترجم كبعض من على الساحة لجعلها أسوأ مما يمكن، و لكن جيليان فلين لها أسلوب قاتم في رواياتها ..صادم ولكن ليس فاحش...وهي متخصصة تقديم نماذج مضهطدة من النساء..أو تمر بمرحلة من اليأس الذي قد يدفعها لمثل تلك الأشياء الصعبة مثل قراءتي الأولي لها
Sharp Object's Review
وبمرور الأحداث وبدء العنصر الكئيب المرعب به شعرت أن السطر الأول لم يكن له أي داع
ولكن صدقني , المؤلف الممتاز لا يترك تفصيلة دون ان يكون لها لزوم بالأحداث
بالأخص في مثل تلك القصة القصيرة التي , قامت بفعل فاحش في عقلي بنهايتها العجيبة
ومع ذلك , أعجبني!!!! كئيبة , مقبضة , وبنهاية سيئة مفتوحة ولكن عنصر المتعة موجود وبقوة

كما أن عشق البطلة لروايات الرعب الكلاسيكي�� كان إضافة ممتازة للأحداث ومشجع لقراءة روايات الرعب الكلاسيكية ايضا
دور الزوجة الخائفة من ابن زوجها , والابن المراهق العجيب نفسه كانت من اقوي الأجزاء ايضا ومرسومة بشكل ممتاز برغم من صغر حجم الحكاية
واستخدام المفاجأت في النهاية والقصة علي الانترنت كان شيئا يقلب العقل فعلا
ألم اقل لك انه لعب بالعقول؟

Although I get shocked by the first line, and so first few pages, by how weird is this proud woman with her experience ,- loved her way telling her background though- , I start getting deep involved with the story when it became more into Haunted House one.. and creepy adolescent and wondered why the "hand job" stating this story?

Well I loved it ,I didn't like the open ending ... left me thinking as hell...it's really Good written though almost as the excellent writing of the whole story anyway.

and also loved how the protagonist loved book too... scary and thriller ones specially the very classics as
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins The Turn of the Screw by Henry James Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I'm sure gonna look for those soon.

I really also loved how desperate was the woman, how dark is the boy, and how the mind "blowing" the twists by the end...specially the one with the Internet..

Thanks Gillian Flynn for the amazing "Words Job" for the mind :)

محمد العربي
في 1 فبراير 2016
Profile Image for Deanna .
655 reviews12.4k followers
November 21, 2015
I really didn't think I was going to bother with this one.

The very first description I saw was:

"Gillian Flynn’s Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone."

After reading that description I wasn't all that interested. However, after reading a few reviews that piqued my interest I thought ah it's only 60ish pages long. What's the harm?

I think if I hadn't known it was a short story when I bought it, I may have been a little ticked off....maybe more than a little. But because I knew how short it was that part didn't bother me as much.

Like quite a few other people I've been anxiously awaiting something new from Gillian Flynn. For some this may fill that need but for me it just left me sort of ....Meh

Apparently this was originally titled "What Do You Do" and was published in a collection of short stories, edited and compiled by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. It's said that George R.R. Martin asked Gillian Flynn to contribute a short story for his collection. A collection that consisted of stories that were centered around thieves, cheats, con men, frauds, liars etc.

As this is a short story I'll try not to give anything away. Right off in the first line we meet a self-proclaimed expert hand job giver (hand-jobber?). She wants everyone to know she isn't quitting because she is bad at what she does, but she does have to semi-retire from her trade due to a painful wrist condition. In between occasionally servicing a few of her regulars she is now attempting to earn a living as a psychic. This leads to her becoming entangled with a mysterious family.

It's told from the point of view of the handy fake psychic. I'm still not sure how I feel about her. Yes she's a shyster (I don't get to use that word often enough) but I just found I didn't dislike her as much as I thought I would, and even enjoyed her sense of humour.

All in all for 60 pages it was fairly entertaining and the story held my interest. Although it was short I thought the characters were reasonably developed but felt that the ending (mostly open to interpretation) could have been better.

As a fan of Gillian Flynn "The Grownup" offered a decent taste but definitely left me wanting more....
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,247 followers
November 17, 2015
For my first Flynn, it really wasn't bad for the most part. (The ending made my eyes roll, but more on that later.) It seems that the writer is a keen study of the human condition, her snark is cold yet captivating and really cuts to the truth.

Also, go like Kelly's review, since it's intelligent and she can actually string cohesive sentences together.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,921 reviews35.4k followers
March 12, 2016
Audiobook....freebie from the library....

Having 'zero' knowledge or information about this book...I downloaded it...
only remembering that I saw it around on Goodreads. I couldn't even remember how people rated it, let alone what it's about.

If the start of this book doesn't catch your attention, no book will.
I was crackin-up...walking on the trail... ( hoping nobody could hear what I was
listening too).
....But then it got less interesting ...
....Then a little less interesting...
....Then just weird...
(not horrible...but not great like the beginning: the humor started to slip)
....The crafty ending is little cliff hanger...

Gillian Flynn had a line that made me laugh enough to want to
remember it and come home and share it with Paul:
"I would rather be a librarian, but I worry about job security, books may be temporary...
dicks are forever."
Come on... admit it... That's funny!

Overall 3.5
Profile Image for Reading Corner.
88 reviews104 followers
March 25, 2016
Despite the short length, The Grownup is another fantastic example of Gillian Flynn's talent in creating a tense,creepy tale through her terrific writing.The short story follows a fake psychic who agrees to help Susan as she's encountering problems with her 15 year old son, Miles and believes it could have something to do with their new house.

This is another chilling tale by Gillian Flynn and never turns out how you expect it to.I really enjoyed how the story unraveled, although I felt it could have been a bit longer.
Profile Image for Megan Hoffman.
174 reviews279 followers
December 22, 2015
I'm not usually one who loves paranormal or ghost stories, but I do love Gillian Flynn's work so I wasn't about to shy away because it's a genre I don't usually gravitate toward. Hence why I picked up The Grownup and was suddenly immersed in a world that is, well....let's just say "kooky."

The Grownup is a short story that I read in about an hour. Set in a small town, the main character is an "aura reader" who is roped into conducting a sort of makeshift spiritual cleansing of a client's house. Fair enough, I suppose except it's not just this house that's seemingly crazy - the client's stepson apparently wants them all dead as well. As the story goes on, we, the readers, are faced with the question of whether it's the house or the stepson that's really the problem.


I know short stories are often notorious for having shock endings so that you aren't left feeling robbed of a full book, but I didn't know quite to make of this one. If Flynn was going for unexpected, then this one was spot on. However, the more I thought about the story, the more I have come to appreciate her choice. I won't give it away, but I think it's definitely worth your time to read.

This short story has been touted as Flynn's homage to the traditional ghost story. Originally it was included in a collection of short stories compiled by none other than George R.R. Martin, so this is it's first time being published as a stand-alone work.

Do I recommend it? Sure, I think if you aren't expecting it to be the scariest, or most mind-bending story you've ever read, you'll probably get a lot of joy out of it. But if you're looking for "the next Gone Girl" from Flynn, you're going to receive a significantly different experience. With that being said, I'd still highly recommend that you give it a chance.

Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,012 reviews1,405 followers
January 6, 2019
First Reading: August 2016, Rating: 4 Stars
Second Reading: January 2019, Rating: 5 Stars

Gillian Flynn does it again!

The Grownup was written in a completely different vein from what I had expected, given the genre of her other books. One thing that did remain the same, though, was that she managed to shock and misdirect her readers page after page!

This follows the story of an unnamed sex-worker-turned-phony-physic and her bid to help a family plagued by a haunted house and a crazed step-son.

The story begun in a hilarious fashion and I warmed to the uncouth yet honest and likeable protagonist. She approached poignant and touching subject matters with a realness and a rawness that tempered the melancholy of her situation, when it would have been so easy to have been beaten by her wretched past.

The story seemed to progress in a predictable fashion and I felt the plot a little recycled from numerous spooky films. But this is Flynn's utter magic: she lures her reader into a false sense of knowing where they are going before taking them completely unawares! Bombshell after bombshell was dropped and the entire last quarter of the book saw the plot redirected on every other page!

What I adored about this the most were the hidden moments of artful brilliance littered in the text; one being how our unnamed protagonist's business card was found inside an old copy of Rebecca, an infamous novel featuring an unnamed protagonist. Just outstanding!

The ending had my low-key psycho side smirking in delight and I only wished that this story was elongated to full novel length as there was more than enough content that could have added to fill it!
Profile Image for ✦BookishlyRichie✦.
639 reviews1,038 followers
October 5, 2020
**Re-read it 10/5/20

**Re-read it 9/2019

**Re-read it 10/2018 - I feel like this needs to be turned into a Netflix movie, it would be perfect.

**Re-read it 9/24/17 and loved it just as much as the first time I read it. It's spooky, insane, and it's an awesome quick read for the fall.

**Re-read it 10/15
Of course this was a crazy mind-fuck like her other books and I loved every moment of it. I'll talk more about it in my November wrap up. :D
Profile Image for Iris P.
171 reviews202 followers
December 30, 2015
The Grownup

Who knew Gillian Flynn had such a great sense of humor? The first 15 pages or so of The Grownup are so hilarious and made me laugh so hard I thought that alone justified the $2.99 I paid for the story!

The story is breezy, funny and just a little bit spooky. I am big fan of Flynn's writing and love her capacity to entertain the reader while exploring very dark stories and characters.
But The Grownup shows a more humorous side of Flynn than anything I'd read from her in the past.

The unnamed protagonist, a calculated scammer, turned entry-level prostitute, turned fortune-teller, regards herself as a shrewd expert in human nature and is not ashamed to use her skills if it helps her in any way.

But she's a likable character and has aspirations, she says things like:

"An inside joke is like a symbol of friendship without having to do the work required of an actual friendship."

"Empathetic silence is one of the most underused weapons in the world."

Or my favorite one:

"I would rather be a librarian, but I worry about the job security, books may be temporary; dicks are forever."

She's quite the character!

With a cast that includes a haunted house, a creepy dark-hair teenager and even an old tomcat, the Grownup might sound like a cliché ghost story but it really is not that at all.

If you are looking for a King-like spooky reading experience, I'd advise you to lower your expectations, I doubt The Grownup will provide that.

What you will get instead is a clever, well written short story that should keep you entertained for an hour or so.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
475 reviews1,309 followers
January 1, 2016
Flynn, you definitely know how to lure in a reader. Full shock value obtained in the opening page with the whole hand job introduction. I was unaware you could get carpal tunnel syndrome from giving too many although I guess any "job" comes with its occupational hazards.
This story isn’t about hand jobs though. It’s a little twister that involves some creepy characters and a plot that just isn't deep enough. I need a longer story, Flynn!
When I read your acknowledgements you wrote this little story for George R.R. Martin upon request, I thought, Damn It! He needs to finish the big honking finale to the Game of Thrones, which his fans have been waiting most impatiently for. He doesn’t have time to be sitting in his big, comfy overstuffed chair and delighting in a story. He’s got work to do, Flynn.
For me, you’ve given him a distraction and for that I’m giving you a 3★. Don’t take it personally - you have a style of writing I enjoy. I just need more than a wee dangler.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,121 followers
November 14, 2015
HA! I bet you've never read a novel that begins like this one.........

I went to bed last night shaking my head and smiling after reading Gillian Flynn's new short story. (written for George R. R. Martin)

Yep, it's dark, Yep, it's creepy-weird, and Yep, it has an ill-fated ambiguous ending and a nameless narrator. (no more hints)

What do you believe?

Profile Image for Annemarie.
249 reviews682 followers
August 23, 2018
Actual rating: 4.5 🌟

I went into this thinking I'm not going to like it very much for two reasons:

1. It has the lowest rating out of Gillian Flynn's books.
2. I'm not a fan of short stories.

Funnily enough, I ended up finding this to be the most interesting story out of the all the ones the wrote so far. There isn't much I can say about the plot or characters (since, after all, it's such a short piece of work - my copy has 57 pages with some rather large print), but somehow I was completely enthralled and would love to read a continuation. I think this would have made a very decent full-length book. It probably would have been better that way actually, since the twists and turns came very suddenly (sometimes a bit too sudden for me to follow).
This obviously isn't the greatest piece of fiction ever written, but it definitely sped up the bus journey I read it on and made me second-guess if maybe I should try reading short stories a bit more often.
Profile Image for Felicia.
544 reviews34 followers
January 2, 2016

This kept me guessing the entire time. I still don't know what to believe! Given that this book is just over sixty pages, I wasn't expecting a lot to be honest. I felt there was a complete story here though. I was pulled in and invested in what was happening to the characters. My only complaint is

Before reading:

When I first noticed a friend added something new by Gillian Flynn:

....then when I saw it was only 64 pages:

Of course I will read it, but I'm still hoping for another full length novel soon!
Profile Image for Debbie.
433 reviews2,744 followers
December 22, 2015
Here's the big-time anti-snooze opening 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.”

Hm...that looks a little loud and shocking in boldface! But who cares? How can you beat an opener like that? And talk about having no idea where the story would go (could go) after that!

For a minute, I was worried that the whole story might be about hand jobs—maybe it would talk about methods and mistakes or other seedy aspects, which I have no interest in pondering. If it had stayed with the hand-job theme, it probably would have gotten monotonous and stupid after a while anyway. I also wondered if the story was going to be just too over-the-top. But honestly, I couldn't get my nose out of the story long enough to worry about it. I hopped on the roller coaster without looking up to see how steep the hills were. Reckless, yes, but not a second of regret.

For sure, some people will be turned off by the weird and racy beginning, but it just cracked me up. I mean really, I can’t recall ever reading a book about hand jobs, let alone a book that has me hanging out with a weirdo who gives hand jobs for a living (and who has to quit because she gets carpal tunnel!). How does Flynn think of these things? Besides, the narrator doesn't go into lurid detail about her profession; it's just the hook that draws you in. I thought it was super funny and clever.

All I have to say is Wow! This is another Gillian Flynn gem! Holy Toledo, what a story. It's super short (64 pages) so you can read it in one sitting. My only complaint is that I was salivating for more. It's late now, but I'm so jazzed I can't sleep—consider reading this one in the morning to avoid insomnia.

A hilarious and bizarro narrator, whose middle name should be hustler, takes us on a wild ride that starts with a wallop and ends with a bang. Suspense is Flynn's middle name and I know I've gone too far with this middle name shit, but my mind wants to play play play since I unbuckled my seatbelt.

For those who don't like ghost stories (like me), never fear. It's Ghost Story Lite. There is no real hocus pocus, just a hint of a haunting.

The ending leaves you hanging, which usually pisses me off royally. Here, I just went with the flow—I think that's what happens when you're having a ball. The tone was so playful and mischievous, I just applied that to the ambiguous ending as well and had fun with it.

The small cast of characters consists of the hand-job-giver turned palm reader, a distraught housewife, and a possibly sociopathic teenage boy. Nothing but fun here. Twists, creepiness, messed up characters. Super entertaining! Check it out!

P.S. I'm sooo chomping at the bit for another Gillian Flynn novel!

Profile Image for Paula K (on hiatus).
414 reviews424 followers
September 4, 2017
The first few pages through me off a bit, but once you get to the house the story turns into a lot of fun. Only 64 pages, but worth it. I really enjoyed the ending which left you with a big question mark.

If you like Jillian Flynn go ahead and read it.
4 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,694 reviews14.1k followers
January 9, 2016
1.5 A rather steep price is wanted for this short story. 9.99 for the book, 2.99 for kindle. Luckily I did not pay for it. The story was originally part of an anthology and possibly I would have liked it better there, surrounded by other writers and other stories. Or maybe not. Hand jobs to evil in a house, while at times amusing, did nothing for me as a whole. I wonder if Flynn's publisher advised her to put this out there, since she hasn't written a novel for a while? The reading public can be fickle, could she be forgotten in the rush of new authors, new books? Of course her name guarantees the ridiculous price. I know some have loved this and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This just reflects mine. Since I didn't like it but didn't pay for it I don't feel ripped off, just taken advantage of.
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