The Grownup by Gillian Flynn is a short story written at the behest of George RR Martin of Game of Thrones fame. Yes that George RR Martin. So what does Gillian Flynn, riding the well deserved praise of her novels Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects come up with? A ghost story of sorts. But with Flynn, the genres blur and The Grownup is another testament to the truth that this talented author just won’t color within the lines.
“…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.
For three years, I gave the best hand job in the tristate area. The key is to not overthink it. If you start worrying about technique, it you begin analyzing rhythm and pressure, you lose the essential nature of the act. You have to mentally prepare beforehand, and then you have to stop thinking and trust your body to take over.
Basically, it’s like a golf swing…”
Nerdy, named so for her glasses and love of reading is a sly and brilliant con artist who has found herself in the sex trade giving hand jobs. She works at a place called Spiritual Palms where the hand jobs go on in the back and palm readings go on in the front. With the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, Nerdy knows its time to move to the front. She convinces the owner and herself that she has the ability to read auras. This goes well until one day Susan Burke walks in and nothing is the same for Nerdy again. Susan has a problem. She has a husband who doesn’t pay attention to her, a brand new home and family and an aura of pain that Nerdy is convinced she must heal. What Nerdy learns is that Susan’s new home has a history and that past may be infecting the present. Mainly Susan’s stepson Miles. Nerdy convinces Susan that what she needs is a cleansing of the home. And for a price, Nerdy can make it happen.
Only when Nerdy visits the home, she comes to realize that some of her lies are the truth and there is a lot more to this old house and to Miles. If she is not careful, none of them may get out alive.
The Grownup is a ghost story. Only its not. Its a mystery detective story. Only its not.
What it is, is Flynn. In her mind bending, plot driven best. Only in a smaller dose. Most writers cannot tell a short story. Its too compact. Leaves them with too little room to work. But Flynn is a craftsman and she knows her work well.
The Grownup moves fast and the writing is crisp and seductive. It just comes to an end way to quickly and reminds us that it has been way too long since we have have a Gillian Flynn novel to enjoy.
A good read.