Flynn is never one to shy away from explicitness and when I read the opening line ‘I didn’t stop giving handjobs because I wasn’t good at it,’ I was like okay, this is going to be interesting, and very much a Gillian Flynn story. Ultimately it was, but it didn’t quite reach my high expectations, although having said that neither did her second novel Dark Places. I was completely gripped by Sharp Objects and Gone Girl but something about Dark Places pace and overall payoff didn’t quite hit the spot for me, and neither did her new(ish) short story The Grownup although for the complete opposite reason; whereas Dark Places felt a little drawn out and slow, The Grownup felt quite rushed, particularly the climax, and although the ending was deliciously psychological I think the ending’s two twists were far too close together and although I suppose this adds to the confusion and ambiguity, the delivery comes across a little too unnatural for me. The substance of the story was great though, and I was gripped by the characterisation of the protagonist from the get-go and Flynn kept me hooked throughout. I loved how the story dabbles in the supernatural but from the psychological angle fans have come to expect from Flynn, and it doesn’t feel out of place either; it only adds to the mystery and tension.
Overall I think The Grownup is a must-read for fans of Flynn’s other novels, and a great gateway story for those sorry folks who have yet to read her novels. I really want to see another novel-length psychological thriller from her but this certainly helps to pass the time until then. It’s not perfect and I think the ending could be stronger, although its twist was certainly better than Dark Places’. Gillian Flynn certainly knows her genre, and she nails the female protagonist therein. I’d give it maybe three and a half stars out of five, as it doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, though in its own right is still a fucking good read.