Cover Image: The Push

The Push

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Maternal instinct is an amazing thing. It will let you love the source of your months-long sleep deprivation. It will bring you out of a deep sleep a second before your baby wakes up. It will give you the reaction speed of a trained ninja. But what if your maternal instinct doesn’t kick in the way everyone talks about? What if you despise the source of your sleep deprivation? What if you don’t hear your child’s cries even when you’re awake? What if you don’t react fast enough?

Blythe never wanted to be a mother. Her own mother, Cecilia, left when she was a little girl after years of neglect. Cecilia’s mother was the same except that she added abuse to the mix until finally committing suicide out in the front yard.

Yet when Blythe marries Fox, life seems perfect. The only thing needed to complete the picture, is a baby. So Blythe decides to make Fox happy and she falls pregnant. From the moment Violet rips through Blythe, she resents her daughter. This child who needs constant attention, who won’t stop crying, who doesn’t sleep, who seems to only love her father. Where is that bond that is supposed to grow? Where is that love that should be tying them together? Why does this look so easy for everyone else? 

As Violet grows, the distance between them grows as well. Blythe sees things in Violet that no-one else does. A calculatedness, a coldness. Then Blythe falls pregnant with Sam and suddenly she gets it. THIS is what Motherhood is supposed to feel like. This all consuming love and devotion that she feels for her little boy. Sam is Blythe’s world...until one fateful day.

This is a story of the dark side of motherhood. The feelings mother’s don’t share with each other for fear of being judged. It’s a story of maternal instinct but in no way that you have read before. It is a story of love and motherhood in its most raw form.

If you suspected your child of murder, what would you do?
Was this review helpful?
A  compelling but disquieting read that will have you questioning Blythe, Violet and her family throughout. I found her to be a rather engaging character and felt her pain as if it were my own.

Society tells us what we should expect from motherhood and more importantly what society expects from us.  Everywhere we look, media portrays perfect mothers with cherub faced children, but what if sometimes that's not  what we get? or what we receive from our families?

Last line of this book...no words.

Thank you to publishers for this ARC
Was this review helpful?
Blythe is determined to be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby that she herself never had. But during those exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter.

What happens when your experience of motherhood is nothing what you hoped for, but everything you feared? That’s the question Ashley Audrain’s standout debut asks. Guaranteed to send a chill down your spine, this is a must-read that’s pacy, absorbing and incredibly hard to put down.
Was this review helpful?
It took me a little while to get into this story and the style of writing- but it was well worth the effort. I’ve just finished the book and am still wiping the tears. Although extreme the author really understands the thoughts and questions and doubts that every mother has. She puts n to words the many emotions we have. Do read this excellent novel.
Was this review helpful?
The Push is an extremely engaging and immersive psychological thriller, but it is SO, SO MUCH more than that. Its a book about motherhood, the brutal, raw truth of the trials and tribulations of it, the roller-coaster of emotions it brings, and the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters. In a way, its more of a complex, character-driven psychological drama than a thriller.

The plot spans across four generations of far from perfect mothers and daughters, but its far from a family saga. The central character is Blythe, and stories of her mother and grandmother are told through flashbacks and highlight the legacy of dysfunctional and problematic mothers in the family. Determined to not repeat history, Blythe gives her everything to her role of a mother, but struggles and fails to develop that bond with her daughter Violet. Over time, she feels that there is something terribly wrong with her daughter, but no one believes her. Things turn very dark very soon, and from there the plot moves into the realms of a classic psychological thriller where you don’t really know what and whom to believe and who is really the victim.

The Push brilliantly explores the dark, terrifying and far from perfect realities of motherhood and the relationship between parents and children. Blythe comes across as a very relatable character as she describes her struggles with Violet and how she deals with crippling self-doubt and paranoia. The book also explores the dark side of mental illness and bringing up children with psychopathic tendencies.

The highlight of the book has to be the brilliant storytelling – it was unbelievably unsettling and unputdownable at once. Even though it was intensely dark and terrifying, I basically inhaled this book in less than two days, and was amazed at the plethora of emotions it generated in me. Till the very end of the book, I was second-guessing everything in the story along with the narrator. Ashley Audrin does an impeccable job at giving life to these incredibly complex and damaged characters without letting go of the pace and suspense of the plot even for a minute.

In all – The Push is easily one of the best psychological thriller/drama I’ve ever read!
Was this review helpful?
I first tried to read this book when I was 8 weeks post partum and had a touch of post partum depression. Wisely, I soon put it down with a view to return to it when I was feeling slightly more stable. 

I am so glad I gave this another go because it's one of the best books I've read this year and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I finished. It was so powerful and chilling. 

I found it an uncomfortable read because it plays on all the usual ways you think you might fail as a mother and mixes them with failures you hopefully wouldn’t even dream of, and adds in another dynamic of what would happen if your child might be inherently bad. The mix of this normal against the very abnormal was so emotionally effective and I found this a very dark book but an incredible read. 

I'm very glad I didn't read it during night feeds in the dead of night when my hormones were all over the place though!
Was this review helpful?
Rating: 3 stars⠀
⠀
Thanks to the publisher Penguin Michael Joseph for my complementary Netgalley copy.⠀
⠀
“The Push” is a very dark, realistic account of motherhood in all of its dimensions. Told from the point of view of the main character, Blythe, the book takes us through the difficulties of being a mother, daughter and wife, in an experience where nothing is as she expected. Through the birth of her first daughter, who is unlike other children, to the grief she experiences after her world is turned upside down, the story is incredibly engrossing and tense. It has made me re-think and change my perception of womanhood and motherhood, having a family and what it must be like when others do not believe you.⠀
⠀
This was a book I was really excited to read and eagerly went into it believing I would enjoy it thoroughly. But it’s really hard to “enjoy” a book that deals with mental illness, grief, adultery, the dark side of motherhood. It was hard to get through some of the parts, being able to predict what was going to happen, then read the character going through the trauma later. Some moments in the book have greatly upset me to the point I have had to stop reading - something which has never happened for me before. This is also a book that should come with content warnings slapped on the front and back - the list of triggers I have compiled about this book will be at the end, so if you believe that this book might be one to cause you distress, please read through my list of triggers. ⠀
⠀
I cannot begin to imagine what the experience of reading this book must have been like for someone who went through similar trauma in their life. I’m not sure if I would recommend this book simply because it has caused me emotional distress, but there might be readers who will appreciate the story for how deeply explorative of motherhood it is. However, please beware that it does touch upon many sensitive topics without any warning.⠀
⠀
TWs:⠀
⠀
child death (multiple), mental illness (psychopathy), postnatal depression, grief, sexual intercourse, adultery, mention of suicide, mention of parental death, self harm
Was this review helpful?
This book is incredible. Beautifully written, so sinister and so tender all at once. Heartbreaking, tense, compelling. I was with Blythe from the very beginning, angry for her and devastated, upset and wary and worried. A brilliant, taut, tragic thriller, with an ending I was waiting for but still came like a punch – a push – when it happened. Amazing, amazing book.
Was this review helpful?
THIS IS THE BOOK OF THE YEAR! Absolutely fantastic. There isn’t anything I didn’t enjoy. I have just bought 10 copies (excessive?! No!) for friends and family. That is how much I love this book. Absolutely a new brilliant talent.
Was this review helpful?
There's been so much hype about this book that I was a little bit anxious starting it, thinking that it would possibly be dreadful. Turns out the hype is right - I really enjoyed it. It's really dark, and a little bit creepy, just what I like in a book! It's a fairly quick read, and although it was fairly obvious where it was heading, I raced through it.
Was this review helpful?
The Push is a harrowing novel that explores motherhood, displacement and mental health. We are taken through 3 time periods, witnessing the overwhelmingly difficult adaption to motherhood, and the marginally thin expectations thrust upon those who give birth.

Audrain has constructed an intense psychological thriller, and we are immediately gripped from the first pages. The fears of inadequacy, truth and compulsion are commonly shared, but often times, the darker sides of motherhood are swept under the rug.

The stifled vocalisation of inherited failure and risk, complex dynamics between child and parent, this novel powerfully mastered its genre and paved a way for further provocative reads.
Was this review helpful?
A kitchen sink drama but without the charm.  It was far too similar to “We Need To Talk About Kevin” only not as good sadly.  There are three women’s points of view and it became confusing but what would have helped is different fonts for each one.  This book could have been good had it not been almost the same as the above mentioned book, instead it was just a dark and depressing read.  Sorry not to be more positive about it!
Was this review helpful?
I love the cover on The Push. It draws you in and makes you want to read the blurb. I’d heard a lot about this book and it’s a very marmite book. I have to say I found this book rather strange. I liked parts of it and then other parts I wasn’t entertained. It’s hard to know what to write without spoiling the book. The chapters about the past didn’t add anything for me they stopped the flow of the book. I liked the writing and the plot was interesting. I look forward to reading more from Ashley. 

Thanks goes to the publishers and net galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Wow ...just wow!  What an incredible book that looks at motherhood from a very dark and difficult place. This book is so well written and has some really dark twists that leave you wondering what you've just read.  I can't recommend it highly enough. Easily 5 stars from me!
Was this review helpful?
Oh boy, did I love this one or what? Yip, I loved it. It's a tense, gripping, emotionally charged and chilling family drama, with definite hints of the psychological thriller genre as well.

My blood was pumping whilst reading this story because this daughter was just too much for me. Yes, I'm going to come right out and say it, I didn't like her at all! Yes, I know she's just a child, and yes I know it probably isn't right to feel this way, but there is no way to hide behind her age or to make excuses for her. Simply put, I couldn't stand the daughter!! I wanted to put her over my knee and give her a good, old-fashioned hiding. And not just once either.

Blythe is the main character in this story, and she's also Violet's mother (the child that got under my skin so badly). It's clear through the telling of this story that she had an extremely difficult childhood, one in which her own mother showed extremely limited and often atrocious parenting skills, meaning that Blythe lacks the confidence in her own abilities to be a good mother. When she gives birth to her own daughter, Violet, she doesn't bond with her as she expected to nor does she feel the love and affection for her daughter that she's expected to feel. But Blythe sees concerning things in Violet's character, things that other people don't see, especially Violet's father who absolutely dotes on her from morning till night. Is it Blythe that has the problem? Has her difficult and abusive childhood caused her lack of emotion? Is it her lack of emotional attachment that is causing her daughter to act out? Or is her daughter truly evil and no-one else can see it? These are the questions which the author grapples with during the telling of this story.

As I mention above, this was a story that really got under my skin. It made me feel a lot, and I love books that can do that. It was so fascinating and extremely sad to watch the disintegration of this family, and to try and understand the different feelings of the parents towards their daughter. It's also a story that deals with the nature vs nurture debate, and it does so in an extremely unsettling way.

This is not going to be the book for everyone, and I can see that some people may find it too triggering, sad and even dark, but I loved it! I'm not sure what I expected from this read, but it turned out to be much darker and more disturbing than I expected. And the ending, oh yes, that ending just worked for me. It said everything that I needed to know in one simple sentence. Wow, this one was great. Loved it.
Was this review helpful?
Well this is one unsettling read indeed

At its roots it is a book about motherhood, a book about nature versus nurture but boy does it pull you to looking at these issues far more up and personal than you feel comfortable with. I truly don't recommend reading this if you are a new mother - for those of us past those early days, hold onto your hats.

Violet is born to Blythe, planned and bought into the world full of expectations what Blythe's husband, Fox, doesn't realise is that Blythe comes from a line of unsuitable mothers. Cecilia who abandoned her daughter as did her mother, Etta, albeit in a different way before her.

Blythe struggles with Violet sensing that the child would prefer life alone with her father and then there is trauma and the world will never be the same again. Is Blythe the monster or does that label belong to someone else.

Not since We Should Talk about Kevin have I read a book that  examines motherhood in such a raw manner. An uncomfortable read from first to last page, but one not to be missed!
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this book, easily five stars from me. A book exploring the idea that motherhood isn't for everyone and how it can effect generations of women really appealed to me. Yes, this book is dark and shocking but it will certainly make you think. I read The Push in one sitting and will be recommending it to everyone I know!
Was this review helpful?
A very unsettling read, I was absolutely gripped. 
I enjoyed how the stories of Blythe's mother and grandmother were interwoven with her own (and in part, Violet's where you were questioning everything you thought she'd done)
In places I was utterly chilled at some of the events.
It was very descriptive of some difficult subjects and I liked how the ending was done.
I ended up feeling angry at both Blythe and Fox though, had they taken a different course of action, things could have been very different for them all, epecially Fox, since you could argue Blythe's experiences with her own mother affected her, but having been repeatedly told what a great mother and loving family Fox had, he just thinks it's acceptable for Violet to treat her mother like she does and have their own club of two and then for him to laugh off what he knew in the end, really irked me.
Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for my eARC in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Blythe had a difficult childhood & isn’t keen to have a baby, but her husband persuades her that she will be a great mother. When baby Violet arrives, her husband is the “perfect father” but she cannot shake the feeling that there is something odd about Violet. Blythe really struggles - is she a bad mother? or is there something about Violet that is “wrong”? The book has flashbacks to Blythe’s own childhood & the relationships between her grandmother, mother and herself as well as the present day interaction between herself & her daughter. 
It took me several attempts to really get into this book – the blurb made me want to read it so when I wasn’t really engaging with it in the first few chapters it took some determination to crack on. The story did not go where I expected it to go, and does touch on a number of difficult topics including mental health issues, the attachment between parent & child and external perceptions. 
Overall this is a very raw and honest look at the expectations/culture surrounding motherhood, the idea of the “maternal instinct”, and the fears that mothers face around whether they will be able to love their child. The story is dark & unsettling, so don’t go into it with the idea that it will all turn out to be sunshine & light! 
I wouldn’t recommend this book for a new Mum, but if you enjoy slightly dark thriller/suspense novels then it’s definitely worth a look!

Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book free via NetGalley. Whilst thanks go to the publisher for the opportunity to read it, all opinions are my own.
#ThePush #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
If I had to use one word to describe Audrain's novel, it would be haunting. Intertwining the dark history of the women in Blythe's family  with her own turbulent mental health and role as a mother, a truly gripping read that questions the extent of unconditional love.

The characters are well developed so I felt pretty strongly about each of them individually, and with so many twist and turns I finished the book in a matter of hours. 

I was unsure of the narrative perspective at first, unsure of the way Blythe seems to be having an internal monologue with her husband, but I quickly got used to it and appreciate it as a very effective way to represent how Blythe is struggling but cannot share her thoughts.
Was this review helpful?