It’s a very long time since I reviewed a book not – so – favorably . The short story THE GROWNUP is going to break this great run of the last few months . It is a short story from Gillian Flynn which won the Edgar award now published as a standalone paperback * ( with the front cover rehashing the success of the Gone Girl ) . Well , that’s not a huge surprise but the story could probably do without bringing the reference to Gone Girl .
Please read on to see why I am saying this .
Plot summary :
The narrator , a young woman is making a living faking it as a cut-price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side ) . With telling people what they want to hear and giving dissatisfied men some soft – core sexual services , she has made a decent living for herself . But then , Susan Burke walks into her consultation room and her life is never going to be the same .
Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and her two sons – 15 year old Miles and 7 year old Jack . Miles is actually her step-son . They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor . Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home . The narrator doesn’t believe in exorcism or the paranormal . But she sees this as a good opportunity to establish her ‘ reputation ‘ as a psychic and gain some new well – to – do clients , thanks to a recommendations of a very happy client , who is currently living each passing day in terror . So , she consents for some ‘ cleansing ‘ sessions . . . However when she enters the house for the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her , waiting , biding its time . . .
* The Grownup, originally appeared as ‘What Do You Do?’ in George R . R . Martin’s Rogues anthology .
My thoughts on the book :
The plot blurb on the cover actually reads
The Grownup ( . . . ) proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction .
Well , I wouldn ‘ t say so .
* A minor spoiler ahead *
Gillian clearly developed an obsession for sociopaths after this story won the Edgar Award . Which is why , she again made the protagonist a sociopath in her runaway best-seller . Well , any story – teller , especially the suspense authors want to keep the readers guessing and a sociopath like Amy Dunne became the perfect excuse for the unreliable narrator ( which is a done-to-death plot tool in recent years in crime fiction ) . Maybe the husband – wife premise offered the scope for ‘ guess – who – is – telling – the – truth ‘ sort of plot trajectory . Here too , Gillian has brought in the same X says – Y says plot trajectory but I began questioning one of the character ‘ s sayings . And after a while , it became all too obvious .
The writing is not anything extraordinary to write about here . Suspense fiction leans more on interesting plot – lines you know : where the plot became all – too -predictable and a rehash – of -an – earlier – read , one does not bother with the literary aspects like the writing , characterization etc . There is at-least one inconsistency in the plot which I clearly remember about Susan settling down in the Carterhook Manor and her husband being serviced by the narrator for two years . . . Yeah , you can see where this is going , right ? ? ?
Perhaps , if I had not read Gone Girl I would have enjoyed it a lot better . I am not saying that authors shouldn ‘ t reuse the plot devices . Maybe , if this has been one story in a short-stories collection from the author , we might recognize the story for being the inspiration for having a character like Amy Dunne and it wouldn ‘ t matter at all with other stories to read . But , to publish a single short story as a standalone paperback , which basically incorporates the same plotting devices as another story , is underestimating your reader very much . The reader can easily guess the characters who could be stand – ins for Nick Dunne & Amy Dunne .
Gillian Flynn has a really long way to go before she can market her short stories like she did this one . And , especially crime fiction fans would not forgive her easily for rubbing it in with all the rant and rave about Gone Girl in the first few pages of the book . It ‘ s a waste of trees to print books like these . Clearly , the publishing industry & Gillian Flynn has gone overboard in trying to cash in on the Gone Girl glory .
Thankfully , I read it during my visit to the Landmark book store . That way , I was able to save some 250 bucks and invest it in other better books .
Rating : 1 / 5 . . . Don ‘ t bother with this one . . . Stay very far away . . .
For people who have read THE GROWNUP : I want to hear what you think about it . Also, feel free to comment about the post as well . . .
Until the next review then . . .