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My Review | The Push

Photo shows the book cover of The Push by Ashley Audrain - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads - perireads.com

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.

The Push by Ashley Audrain is a tumultuous story about one characters downward spiral towards motherhood. Here it takes the concept about the joys of being a mother but with a heavy dose of reality. Our main narrator may be unreliable but she talks about the harsh experience of bringing becoming something she fears the most. In my review, I go in depth of Audrain’s story and try to piece together the ever growing fear of bringing a child in to this world. But, even worse, what if you bring in a child that doesn’t even want you?  

“A mother’s heart breaks a million ways in her lifetime.”

The Push starts starts with our main character Blythe, watching her ex husband and his new wife dance around the Christmas tree. Blythe’s daughter, Violet, notices her estranged mother watching and doesn’t break eye contact. After this montage we learn about Blythe and Fox’s relationship. We see the beginning of two lovers who are sweetly in love turn sour as they progress through parenthood. 

Throughout the story we get glimpses of Blythe’s childhood, about both her emotionally absent mother and grandmother. Blythe’s generational trauma surrounding motherhood hangs over her head. Especially when she tries to mother her own daughter. Her attempts at bonding with Violet are fruitless. As soon as Blythe gives birth to her son, Sam, everything clicks. But the concerning relationship with her first child only heightens her fears with the new baby around. Blythe begins to understand that while motherhood brings miracles, it also requires unwilling sacrifices.  

This book is truly nerve wracking. I didn’t know who to trust or how to process what’s going on. Now I know motherhood is a lot but this unlocks a new fear: what if my child is low key a sociopath who wants to psychologically torture me. That being said the book does feel like it’s dragging out the story from time to time. The added details of Blythe’s mother and grandmother bogs down the story a bit. 

Plus all the characters are kind of unbearable. Especially Fox. He wants to be taken care of in his relationships. But Blythe has no maternal instincts. Violet is a scary child, with some sociopathic tendencies. Audrain manages to make a child both horrifying and annoying all at the same time. The over arching story makes Blythe a sympathetic character but there are times where she’s hard to trust. Sometimes her own thoughts didn’t match what was going on around her. 

“You used to care about me as a person—my happiness, the things that made me thrive. Now I was a service provider. You didn’t see me as a woman. I was just the mother of your child.”

Audrain masterfully creates a family drama about the highs and lows of motherhood. How isolating it can be. How soul crushing it can be. All I see about the joys of creating life are the positives of it. I feel it’s stigmatized to talk about the bad stuff that comes with having kids. Blythe’s anxiety envelopes the whole story as we piece together the truth. The story is unique and gripping with each word, and overall the ambiance quite somber. The Push by Ashley Audrain is a genuine sentiment about the fears of someone who has never felt motherly love but becomes a mother herself. The twists are interesting and I could not get enough.

MY RATING:

4/5

MY RATING:

4/5

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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them. 

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