Tuesday 16 February 2021

The Push by Ashley Audrain | Book Review

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The Push by Ashley Audrain - 5/5

"'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?"

Wow. I'm writing this review seconds after finishing this book and I genuinely have tears in my eyes. What a book. This is one that will stay with me.

The opening sucks you right in it is hard to put this book down for even a second. The short chapters mean that it is easy to fly through too.

Narrated by Blythe and told as though she is recalling the story to her husband Fox, we learn about her and her family. The women in her family are "different" and probably not meant to be mothers. She struggles after the birth of their daughter Violet. It isn't how everyone says it should be. Blythe and Violet have a volatile relationship but can we trust everything that Blythe is saying? Is it the truth or is it HER truth?

Reading this as a parent, it hits hard. I can't imagine how I'd feel reading it if I didn't have children. As a mother, it can be very relatable. The hard times of parenting are written very well, even though Blythe's story is a bit extreme. 

Following the birth of Blythe and Fox's second child, a boy called Sam, Blythe has a completely different experience and embraces that happy motherhood until tragedy strikes.

Interspersed between Blythe's current story, we have chapters recalling Blythe's childhood with her mother Cecelia and Cecelia's childhood with her mother Etta. These stories are absolutely heartbreaking to read.

When I got to that end sentence and flicked to the next page to see 'Acknowledgements', I almost shouted "No!" I did not want this to end.

What a book. It is compelling, raw and visceral.

Trigger warnings for child abuse, self harm, the death of an infant and miscarriage.

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