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Book Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain

Mother? Daughter? Angel? Monster?

Oh. My. God.

What a book!

What a final sentence!

I’d heard so much about The Push around its release date, I was interested but did not expect to this gripped by it.

It’s chilling, discomfiting and disturbing and I was completely hooked by this book about the dark side of motherhood.

From the back

I think she pushed him,’ I said to you quietly. ‘I think she pushed him . . .’

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life. But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn’t right.

I had always known that the women in my family aren’t meant to be mothers.

My husband Fox says I’m imagining it. He tells me I’m nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child.

But she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong.

Is it her? Or is it me? Is she the monster? Or am I?

So, how often do we read books where the relationship between mother and child is strained – I don’t mean as adults, I mean from birth?

In ‘The Push’, Ashley Audrain gives us three generations of women who can’t bond with their daughters and my God it is breath taking.

It’s told through the eyes of Blythe, who can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right with her daughter Violet. She doesn’t feel that supposed rush as soon as she’s born and from there the stage is set. She never really quite manages to connect with Violet, despite trying over and over again.

Through flashbacks we’re told about Blythe’s relationship with her own mother, Cecilia (it’s very cold and unloving) and Cecilia’s relationship with her mother Etta, who was abusive.

Then there’s Violet’s behaviour.

It’s sinister, cold and calculating….or is it?

Blythe has us believe Violet’s evil; she’s convinced Violet’s responsible for ‘The Push’ at the heart of this book – I really don’t want to give spoilers away, so I won’t tell you what the incident in question is.

Blythe is left alone with her worries and fears, her husband’s response is generally centred around “you just need to love her more”, he eventually leaves her.

She feels constantly like she’s failing and being compared to her mother-in-law. Blythe doesn’t really know what a good mother looks like having been abandoned by her own at the age of 11.

I was torn throughout this book, Blythe isn’t a saintly character, at times her behaviour is unhinged. I couldn’t decide whether or not what she thought of Violet was all in her head or if it had actually happened. I couldn’t decide if Violet was as chilling as described or just a child who needed some love. I couldn’t decide if she was guilty of what she was being accused of – until that final sentence, and it left me gobsmacked.

It touches on loss of identity, the idea that not everyone is meant to be a parent and that motherhood is bloody difficult.

As psychological thrillers go, this was superb while covering what is difficult and touchy subject. It’s a book worthy of the hype around it, give it a read you won’t be disappointed.

I’d love to hear from others who’ve read this – what did you think of the end?

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain Leave a comment

  1. Glad I found you’re review! The Push tormented me in so many ways as I was reading it. It really touched my own attachment wounds and the need to be a” perfect” mother. To give the book credit, it was a page turner, however it was such a slow uncomfortable burn and the ending! If I wasn’t reading this book for a book club I am in, I would have stopped reading it. Full stop.

    Liked by 1 person

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