Book Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain

January 31, 2021

I've had this book on my radar ever since I came across it when compiling my most anticipated book releases of January 2021 post (you can read that here). As soon as it was published, I knew I had to get myself a copy, and after being unsure whether the hype around it was grounded for the first 50 pages or so, I was soon absolutely addicted and finished the book in pretty much one sitting - see below for my full thoughts.

 


From Goodreads:

 

"Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

 

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

 

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

 

Then their son Sam is born–and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

 

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed."

 

My thoughts:

 

As I said above, I wasn't sure on this book for the first 50 pages or so. It's written in the second person, but instead of being a direct address to the reader, is written to Blythe's husband. This makes for confusing reading at first, especially because the first few scenes of the novel are out of context cut scenes and flashbacks where no characters are properly introduced. I was getting a little frustrated with not having a clue what was going on, but I finally got into the rhythm around the 40-50 page mark and then the book really took off for me.

 

This book is intense. I really felt like I was going through Blythe's struggles with motherhood and her troubled relationship with her daughter along with her. The inner turmoil of Blythe over her lack of connection with Violet, as well as her suspicions about her daughter's true nature, is really very chilling to read. I found myself getting so frustrated for Blythe that no one, especially her husband, was taking her suspicions seriously. And it was after Blythe has had her second child, Sam, that I really could not put this book down - I just had to keep reading until I found out what happened.

 

If you enjoyed We Need to Talk About Kevin, you have to read this book. It tells a similarly disturbing story of motherhood gone wrong - what happens when a mother is faced with a child she hates, a child she can't even recognise as her own? I, and clearly so many others, find these stories fascinating and yet so very  frightening. I suppose it's because motherhood is supposed to be such a natural, intuitive process, and the thought of it going awry is so incomprehensible - that when it does, you almost can't look away from the fallout. That's how reading this book felt - like I was watching the events of the book happen with such horror and yet I just couldn't help but stare.


It takes the work of a very good author to truly hook in your attention make you feel a whole spectrum of emotions like this book did - and for that, I cannot recommend The Push enough. 


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