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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.

Review: The Husband’s Secret

The Husband's Secret

The Husband’s Secret
By Liane Moriarty
Berkley, 9780451490049, 2017, 496pp.

The Short of It:

Liane Moriarty has become one of my favorite authors. I discovered her books during the pandemic. She knows how to grab my attention and The Husband’s Secret delivered just what I needed.

The Rest of It:

As with many of her books, Moriarty’s stories often incorporate many characters and story lines that come together nicely but there is usually a main thread to pull you in and in The Husband’s Secret, Cecilia  finds an envelope that is addressed to her, written in her husband’s hand. The instructions on the envelope ask that it be opened in the event of his death. His death? She wants desperately to read it, but when she mentions the letter to her husband John-Paul, who is very much alive, he begs her not to. Inside of that envelope is a secret he’s been keeping that will forever change their lives.

What I really enjoy about these novels is that Moriarty always manages to include the neighborhood in the story. The other characters are neighbors or friends or people you see at the school drop off. Their lives seem on the surface to be pretty perfect, but they are presented with challenges and not-so-pretty moments. Definitely not the shiny, sparkly moments captured on say, Instagram.

In addition to Cecilia’s plight above, we have Tess and Will who are happily married, or so they thought, until Tess’s cousin admits to being in love with her husband. We also have Rachel, a women who has had to deal with the grief of her daughter’s murder. A murder that was never solved and now her only son is taking his wife and son out of the country and Rachel will be without the distraction of her darling grandson, Jacob. How will she cope?

The Husband’s Secret was a satisfying read. The characters are so well-drawn and as a reader, you get the feeling that you are listening to a private moment between two people and I just love that. I think I have about three Moriarty novels left for me to read but so far, this is one of my favorites.

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