The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

26025580Published: November 3rd 2015 By: Crown

Genres: Adult-Fiction, Short Stories, Mystery, Suspense

Format: Hardcover Source: Publisher My Rating: 4 Stars

Find It: Goodreads || Amazon || Barnes & Noble

A young woman is making a living, faking it as a cut-price psychic working at Spiritual Palms (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, built in 1893. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home, and taking possession of the stepson. She has even found trickles of blood on the wall. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural, but she does see an opportunity to make a lot of money. However when she enters the house for the first time, and meets Miles, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time….

The Grownup which originally appeared as What Do You Do? in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.


There are times that short stories don’t always make me want to read more. Some of them are great just the way they are, and some need more fleshing out. This story is great, but at the end, I wanted to keep reading. There are a whole list of possibilities for this story, and I really wish Flynn would write more. But, then again, sometimes you just have to use your own imagination when a story ends abruptly. In 62 pages, I was completely sold on this plot and it’s characters.

Our narrator has no name, so I’ll just call her Cleo (don’t those fortunetellers have names like that?). Cleo is a fraud in the whole palm reading business, but she’s a pro at relieving tension with her hands *cough*. Her clients never leave unsatisfied, and one in particular seems to have caused problems. She’s experiencing carpal tunnel from her work at Spiritual Palms, so she is tasked to work up front as a psychic. In walks Susan, and everything gets a little creepy from then on out. I can’t say anything else, because that would spoil the whole thing.

There’s a married woman, a stepson, another son, and a husband who is never home. The old Victorian home they live in seems to be haunted, and Susan enlists Cleo for help. This is one confusing and creepy story. The characters all seem to have different motives, and you don’t know what to believe. For Cleo to have no name, she is well fleshed out. There’s a little backstory for her that gives you just enough to feel sympathetic towards her. She loves to read; ghost stories in particular, which is why one of her clients enjoys her company and brings her books every time he comes to get jacked off. At the end, I was like, “that’s it?”. Makes me wonder what Cleo decided to do about her situation. I’m really hoping that Flynn writes a whole book for this because this is just too good. I definitely recommend this to all you short story lovers out there. Or, if you just love ghost stories in particular, you’ll be wanting more by the end.


18 thoughts on “The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

  1. I keep seeing this book around, and I had ZERO idea that it was a short story. Huh. Well, now there actually might be a higher chance of me checking it out! Sometimes I just don’t know if I want to invest the time in a full-length novel I’m not sure of, but heck, short story? Why not.


  2. I have heard so many things about this author and I do know that I should really just get over myself and read one of her books at some point >.> I love that this short story worked so well with you, and that it sucked you in so quickly. You’re right, only the best short stories leave you hungry for more after the last page is said and done.


  3. I really enjoyed this one as well. I love that you decided to name the narrator Cleo. That is perfect. I agree completely about wanting to read more at the end of the story. I could have easily kept reading about this group of characters for a few more hours. Lovely review!


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