Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain


Title: The Push

Author: Ashley Audrain

Published: 7th January 2021, Michael Joseph

Status, Read January 2021 courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Au


My Thoughts:

“I would be different. I would be like other women for whom it all came so easily. I would be everything my own mother was not.”

Blythe is anxious about impending motherhood but determined to break the cycle of indifference and neglect that characterised her own relationship with her mother, and her mother’s before that. Violet’s arrival leaves Blythe awestruck, but within a week of the birth of her daughter, in pain and exhausted from lack of sleep, she is convinced she is doing everything wrong, that she cannot be a good mother, and that Violet knows it.

Exploring the question of nature vs nurture, the experience of motherhood, inter-generational trauma and mental health, The Push is a compulsive, chilling debut from Ashley Audrain.

“This is my side of the story.”

Unfolding from Blythe’s first person perspective, I think parents in particular will find something to relate to in Blythe’s early experiences of motherhood, whether it be a fleeting thought, or something more profound. For me those early weeks and months with a newborn are now mostly a blur, but I do remember the concern (that never really leaves you) about my ability to be good mother. Blythe’s initial anxiety therefore seems reasonable, especially as information about her own tragic background is revealed, but as Blythe begins to view Violet, barely a toddler, as an active agent of her angst, empathy slowly begins to drain away.

“I couldn’t tell you the truth: that I believed there was something wrong with our daughter. You thought the problem was me.”

Blythe’s husband, Fox, is at first largely supportive of his wife’s anxiety but he is certainly not willing to entertain Blythe’s idea that Violet is anything but a sweet, blameless child. Audrain capitalises on the ambiguity and as Blythe’s credibility wavers, the tension thickens. The uncertainty is a feature of the plot, it’s unsettling to not know if Blythe can be trusted, and the alternative, to believe her, is just as, if not more disquieting.

The Push has quite an impact, this is a disturbing, poignant, and gripping novel.


Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Moore
    Jan 29, 2021 @ 05:59:02

    Sounds like a very good, intense book.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    Jan 29, 2021 @ 07:37:08

    I’ve seen this book quite a bit, I don’t know if I could read it, anything about childbirth still makes me cry nearly twelve years after the birth of the last daughter!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Diane
    Jan 29, 2021 @ 11:12:54

    Intense but so good, I was happy I listened to it.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. sandysbookaday
    Jan 29, 2021 @ 15:40:25

    Everywhere I look, people are reading/listening to this book. My requests are languishing as ‘wishlist’.😣 I will put my name down for this at the library tomorrow. Your excellent review compels me to read this asap! Thanks Shelleyrae. ❤📚

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Carla
    Jan 30, 2021 @ 14:01:47

    I have seen some great reviews for this one. I have requested this one but it is pending on NG and my library doesn’t have plans to get.

    Liked by 2 people


  6. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out

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