Review: The Push

The Push

The Push
By Ashley Audrain
Pamela Dorman Books, 9781984881663, January 2021, 320pp.

The Short of It:

I had heard from many that this story was wild and it is. It’s like watching an accident happen in slow motion and you cannot look away.

The Rest of It:

Blythe and Fox can’t wait for their beautiful baby girl to arrive. After a difficult labor, baby Violet is placed on Blythe’s chest and it’s not quite the feeling she’s envisioned all her life. As a young girl whose own mother left her at a young age, Blythe silently vows to be the type of mother that she herself never had. But the constant feedings, the lack of sleep and honestly, the lack of a mother-daughter bond concerns Blythe. It concerns Fox too but he pins it on exhaustion. How could a mother not love her own child?

The thing is, Violet never seems to NEED Blythe. She is always reaching for daddy and doesn’t seem to notice the things he can’t provide like the around-the-clock nursing that only Blythe can manage. Years pass and this feeling that Blythe has can’t be shaken. There is something wrong with this child.

Enter Sam. If you have any doubts over your ability to be a mother, why not test the theory out by having another child? That’s exactly what Blythe does. She never shares her full intentions with Fox but secretly she wants to prove that she is a good mother and that a different child will see that. Sam is the baby she’s always wanted. He nuzzles into her, and doesn’t turn away like Violet did. He smiles when he sees her and looks to her for comfort. When she sees her son’s goofy grin, she smiles from ear to ear. While all of this is going on, Violet and her father also notice and Blythe is left wondering if there is something wrong with her to feel such dread whenever her daughter enters the room. How can Blythe not let this affect them? Then, the unthinkable happens.

What a book! This is a brutally honest look at motherhood. These characters are not depicted in a good light and some might think that Blythe’s aversion to her own daughter is way over-the-top but anyone who’s had a few rough years with a baby knows that it is right on the money. My daughter did not sleep through the night until age four and required two feedings an hour for years. So long that the doctor had her checked for a heart condition thinking she was expending too much energy and therefore requiring more food. This book triggered me in so many ways and yet I kept flipping those pages.

Many have described The Push as being compulsively readable. I agree 100%. It’s gritty and truthful and not at all pretty but it was impossible to put down. If you enjoyed Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage then you will want to read this one.

Also, Ashley Audrain has another book coming out in 2022, The Whispers.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

12 thoughts on “Review: The Push”

    1. Yes. The lines and hints that the author dropped here and there kept me reading for sure. I had to re-read some parts because of what they implied and how easily it could be missed if not paying attention.

  1. This sounds intriguing. I didn’t really bond well with my daughter as a baby…I just don’t have that innate sense for babies and their needs, but when she started walking, etc., we were bonded and now some may say she depends on me a little more than most 10 year olds. I keep telling her she needs to be more independent. 🙂

    1. I take partial blame for my daughter’s lack of independence when it comes to business type items. She is very independent with other things but I hovered too much. I know this. And now with her about to leave it’s evident that I did her a disservice. Your daughter is young. Try to pull away now as you have been doing so she will be more prepared when the time comes. It goes so fast.

  2. Glad you loved this one. I found it riveting and am curious about her next book. My DIL had a rough time bonding with her baby as well – notthehappy first time mother one hopes for.

    1. If my first has not been as easy as he was, I probably would not have had another! It took a long time for my daughter and I to click and every now and then, even now, shades of those angry baby days come flying back at me.

  3. I’m kind of torn about this book. I heard about some trigger topics and I wasn’t sure if this is the right book for me, but other than that, everything about this book sounds awesome. Maybe some day.

  4. Motherhood, whether easy or difficult, is just not a simple process. This book sounds intense and good.

    1. Very intense. There is a little bit of a We Need to Talk About Kevin vibe but not nearly to the extreme of that book.

  5. I’ve seen this cover around, but didn’t know anything about it until I read your review. It sounds like a great read! Being a parent isn’t always easy and mother-daughter relationships can be filled with a lot of landmines. There were times when I felt like I probably gave my daughter too much independence as an older teen, but she’s blossomed into such a strong, independent and successful business woman, that maybe I can take a little credit for helping her along that path.

    1. The cover is a little strange to me. The title is discussable as well.

      I had a rocky start with #2. She never slept and ate every 30 min. She cried non-stop unless I took her to the mall, oddly enough. But as soon as I left the mall she would ball up her fists, her face would turn beet read and holler like a banshee. People must have thought I was sticking pins into her. She began to sleep at AGE 4. I literally begged the doctor to hospitalize me when I started to fracture bones and teeth from lack of nutrients and exhaustion. I’d turn the door knob and break a wrist. She was a pistol then and yes, she still is now.

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