I quite like to read on the treadmill. Whenever I’m reading a “kindle book” I will put the size of the words up so that they’re really big, and read as a run along. It’s a great way of passing the time (as long as you’re not sprinting – I can’t read and sprint!)
So when I read the first words of Gillian Flynn’s The Grownup, absolutely huge, I first wanted to check over my shoulder to make sure nobody else had seen. Then I grinned, and was immediately drawn into the book.
I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it.
And I wasn’t disappointed – this is a great book. In fact, the only thing that disappointed me is that it was a short story. Bought on my kindle, I didn’t realise just how short it was until I was almost finished. Of course, as soon as I realised that the ending was going to happen soon and that this was going to be a short, punchy book, I couldn’t put it down.
Gillian Flynn is, of course, the author of the famous Gone Girl – a book I absolutely loved when I first read it, did not see the twist, loved the ending. But her other, less well-known books are in my view just as good or even better, certainly darker. I’d recommend Sharp Objects for one.
The Grownups does not disappoint – a dark thriller that manages to pack in a few twists and turns into its few pages, that will keep you on the edge of your seat and also make you smile. It’s the story of a girl “on the wrong side of the tracks”, a hand-job-giver promoted to fortune teller and… Well, I don’t want to give anything away. Despite the narrator’s background and life choices (she has no sympathy for the desperate women whose fortunes she tells (makes up)), I found her likeable, amusing. I was firmly on her side throughout.
Unlike Flynn’s other books, this has an air of a ghost story about it, a haunted house, a mystery. But, in common with her longer novels, here there are unreliable narrators, a sense that all is not as the reader thinks, the theme of cruel women. For me, the character studies, into the main character’s dodgy back-story and the twisted motivations of the other characters were much more gripping than the ghostly aspect – characters, even the minor ones, are what Gillian Flynn does really, really well.
I also just wanted to share something that really annoyed me. After reading this book, I was having a look at some of the reviews online. After the huge success of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn is the darling of women’s magazines the world over, and this is how Glamour Magazine chose to introduce The Grownups:
We should point out that the book itself is tiny and neon and adorable, perfect for leaving on the nightstand in your guest room.
Ah yes. Just what I look for in a book – being tiny and adorable.
Anyway, rant aside, The Grownups is proof that books don’t necessary have to be long to pack a punch, but a reminder that short, good books are over far too quickly.