Thursday 17 August 2023

The Push - Ashley Audrain Review


A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared.

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.

I picked this book up on Kindle for 99p at some point after hearing a lot of hype about it. I can totally see why now. This was thrilling not in the way that it felt action-packed and fast-paced but steady, creepy, and left the reader absolutely full of doubts. It was fantastic.

Blythe is determined to break the family tradition of awful mothers and be exactly what her daughter needs. However, in those early foggy days of motherhood, she becomes convinced her daughter is not like others nor does she like her. They say mother knows best but when no one else can see what she sees and she is dismissed by her own husband she tries to push it all out of her head.

So when she has her son and the connection is instant and the relationship is the one she dreamt of with her own daughter she just thinks maybe this time round it's right and even Violet loves Sam. The family is complete. So when everything is thrown up into the air and Blythe is forced to question herself once again - has she known the truth all along?

This was a slow burner, but in the best kind of way, it built - Blythe was totally unreliable and it was really hard to decide whether to believe her or not. This book had me hooked, I felt so uneasy reading it. It's the sort of book that gets under your skin and leaves you questioning everything right up until the very very end.

Ashley Audrain previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Push is her debut novel.

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