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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Push
by Ashley Audrain
Narrated by Marin Ireland

Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: January 5, 2021
8 hrs 38 min
Genres: Contemporary, Psychological Thriller

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.

My Review:

I wasn't *quite* sure what to expect going into this story.  I didn't read the synopsis and only caught snippets of other people's reviews and based on that, I knew I had to read this immediately.  I decided to start the audiobook this morning with coffee and well, I got sucked in and listened to it non-stop until it was over.  

I have always been fascinated with nature vs nurture and this story delves into this greatly.  Is Violet the way that she appears to be because Blythe wouldn't nurture her from the very beginning? Or was she just born this way? Detached and uncaring?  Extremely intelligent and unassuming to everyone but her own mother.  OR is Blythe just imagining everything, initially because of her post-partum depression, and her continued inability to bond with her daughter?  Seeing things the way she wants to, even in its most horrific form? The fine line between the two is brilliantly done by Audrain.  

Blythe is a very unrealiable narrator.  Being inside her head could be hard at times but it also felt VERY real.  Even when I was like, "WTF are you doing, woman?", I was also simultaneously going... "yep, I can totally see why she's thinking/doing this"... even when she turned on stalker mode.  I do kind of wish we got a bit more creepy kid (listen, I am who I am....), but I see this as less of a story about that and more of a character study of Blythe.  A woman who grew up with a terrible childhood, her own mother and grandmother abusing and discarding her.  These scars run deep so when she becomes pregnant with Violet, all her underlying fears of becoming a mother all seem to be coming true.

But that last line.  I really thought my audiobook broke or something because I was left hanging... staring at my speaker with my head tilted like I could force more story out of it. 🤣 Sigh... but also nice move, Audrain.. nice move.  Just when I start thinking one way, you knock me back on to my seat.  


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