The Push by Ashley Audrain
2021 Penguin Audio
Narrated by Marin Ireland
Finished on November 25, 2023
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
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, 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.
Oh. My. Gosh. I could not stop listening to this suspenseful book, anxious to find out what was going to happen next. Marin Ireland does a superb job with the audio narration, and I was enthralled with the story. The further along I listened, the more I wondered if this was going to be another Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. Hearing only her side of the story, could I believe in the reliability of Blythe's account of events?
Without revealing too much, The Push is a disturbing (and at times sinister) psychological drama, but it's also a smartly told narrative about motherhood (particularly that of a new mom), unconditional parental love, as well as the genetics of mental health, all posing the question of nature vs nurture. This is one to talk about and would make for a terrific book group discussion. Avoiding the usual tropes of this genre, Ashley Audrain knocks it out of the park with her debut novel. I can't wait to read her new book, The Whispers.