The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
|The Grownup by Gillian Flynn|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Not to be dismissed as simply a short story dressed up as a full novel, or filler; this book is great fun.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 80||Date: November 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Our narrator, a self-confessed expert at giving, er, relief to men, is branching out. Well, carpal tunnel syndrome at such a young age isn't great. Instead of working at the back of a dodgy tarot shop, she's out front, pretending to see auras, and using her natural aptitude to read people (a skill mastered begging for years with her one-eyed mother), when a woman comes in with a serious demand. Piecing the mystery of what it might be together for us, our heroine ends up in a very malevolent building, housing what might be the step-son from hell…
There will always be people frustrated by this, and the nature of it. They will be clamouring (as most of us in fact are) for the next full-length novel from Gillian Flynn and will dislike it for being a short story. (It was once called 'What Do You Do' – a recurring question the narrator sees asked of her, and is short in that reading it aloud takes under an hour.) They will see the brevity of it, and the large print, and wonder what went wrong – why such small things are being offered to their altar.
Well, to offer a retort to that, this didn't win a major short story award for nothing. It is gripping – the chatty style of the nameless narrator, and the clear way she has been a self-confessed con girl for so long – ie setting up for a fall – is supreme. The fall isn't what is expected, either, and when the plot twists around to breaking point and back again, to leave us holding the book/our Kindle at an awkward angle to follow the Moebius strip to where it takes us, we can only say we've enjoyed things. Proceedings have a suitable darkness about them to contrast with the easy levity and assuredness of the narrative style, other characters match the frankness of the opening in being outspoken and strong (and worry not, that opening, that I'd declare a certificate 12 for adult themes, is as far as that goes), and the cleverness of the plot is once again part of this author's metier. Thus this piece is definitely part of her oeuvre, and is certainly not a fragment to be sniffed at.
Short chapters – and a short title – if not a short book make up Hidden by Emma Kavanagh.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Grownup by Gillian Flynn at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Grownup by Gillian Flynn at Amazon.com.
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