The Push by Ashley Audrain (2021) Review

Nature x Nurture

Why I picked up the book:

Blythe Connor’s biggest fear is that history will repeat itself, and she won’t be the warm, kind, loving mother she wants to be. When Blythe gives birth to her daughter, Violet, her worst fears come to life when she starts thinking that there is something wrong with her.

To Blythe’s despair, her husband is both protective of Violet and dismissive of her feelings. When Blythe has a second child, she feels that instant bond she has always yearned for. Even Violet comes around, and Blythe begins to think that things will be alright. That is until an unfathomable tragedy happens, and the Connor’s lives change forever.

The book through my criteria lens:

 The book is mainly told from Blythe’s perspective through a long letter she has written to Fox, explaining her side of their tragic story. Blythe’s mother and grandmother were not the maternal kinds, and Blythe has always worried that this would be her fate. To explain this trauma, we get glimpses into the different mother-daughter relationships throughout the book for context. 

I feel the flashbacks were very helpful and enhanced the story, but The Push would have been as impactful with just Blythe’s letter. Her voice is one of the most powerful voices I have read in a long time. This book is a slow burner, psychological thriller, and it reads almost as a literary novel. So I think that going in with the right expectation will allow the reader to appreciate the beauty of this book.  

The women in The Push are superb. Maybe because they were all so strong, I felt that the male characters weren’t as good. I wish I had seen a few chapters from Fox’s perspective, but I understand that is me nitpicking. The Push is a fantastic novel, just the way it is.

My personal feelings:

This book has a few content warnings, so I suggest looking them up with the understanding that you might have some of the book’s intensity spoiled.

As a daughter and a mother, I could empathize with Blythe. The Push makes you think about motherhood and how traumas can be passed down through generations until someone breaks the cycle. It also invites the reader to think about the possible damage societal pressures can do to mothers.

The Push is not a light read; at least it wasn’t for me. It made me question my idea of motherhood, childhood and some of the places Audrain took me were raw, painful, and hopeless. I started crying around chapter 80 and didn’t stop until well after finishing the book—what a powerful, compelling, intense, emotional book. Don’t think that this is a book about motherhood; it is also very much a mystery, superbly written and plotted. I was on the end of my seat until the last page, hoping to get an answer.

Blythe is a woman let down by life, unsupported by those who should love her. Above all, she is a mother who gave everything she had, tried her best, and sacrificed her happiness trying to break a cycle of traumatic relationships. I would be proud to have her as a friend.

Enjoyability     10

Characters       9

Ambience       

Fairness          10

Plot                 

Execution       

My total rating: 4.92

This book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/bS5SMq4FegE

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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