Book Review: The Grownup

You know you are in for a brain-tease of the highest order when it comes to Gillian Flynn. And you know you are definitely reading one of hers when the protagonist (unnamed) happens to be someone who gives hand jobs at the back of a psychic parlour. Nerdy, as she is called owing to her fondness for reading, she isn't embarrassed about her profession, it's what she wryly calls 'customer service.' But three years into the job and some 23,546 hand jobs later, she gets a promotion. She becomes an aura reader.

The Grownup
Things soon begin to look up for her when a rich client, a Susan Burke, seeks her help about a supernatural presence which she thinks haunts her Victorian manor, and Nerdy, seizing the lifetime chance to milk as much money as she can, agrees to visit her house, only to be really confronted with a series of bizarre happenings, forcing her to rethink and reevaluate her choice.

Nerdy is exactly the kind of character you would expect from Flynn, imbuing her with traits that are genuinely repulsive and unlikeable from the get-go, but utterly fascinating from a psychological point of view. She is manipulative, plucky, unabashed, and it's a miracle how we manage to know so much about her in just about 57 odd pages. The (short) story, for its part, is classic Flynn-meets-Stephen King territory, and she pulls off the sort of mind-games she only can with the ease of a practiced prestidigitator. It's dark, intriguing, super-creepy and super-unsettling, and masterfully twisty.