Tag Archives: Loss

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 Beauty of What Remains

The Beauty of What Remains

The Beauty of What Remains
By Steve Leder
Avery, 9780593187555, January 2021, 240pp.

The Short of It:

I did not expect a book about death and grief to be one of my favorite reads of the year.

The Rest of It:

As the senior rabbi of one of the largest synagogues in the world, Steve Leder has learned over and over again the many ways death teaches us how to live and love more deeply by showing us not only what is gone but also the beauty of what remains. ~ Indiebound

The Beauty of What Remains is my book club’s pick for March. When I picked it up, I really had to push myself to read a book that is essentially about death and the grief that follows it. Death is depressing to me. It’s probably depressing to most people but this book is incredibly uplifting and hopeful. Leder, having sat by thousands of deathbeds as a rabbi knows a thing or two about death but it never really dawned on him what true grieving was until his own father passed away from Alzheimer’s a few years ago.

Death is a great teacher if it impels us to serve the living. ~ Steve Leder

Through anecdotes and real life experiences from those who have sought his counsel, Leder provides a revelatory look at how death can look to loved ones who are forced to face it. It doesn’t have to be the sad, depressing life passage that we’ve come to expect. Leder provides a different viewpoint, one that focuses on the good and his easy, affable way is like the hug you never knew you needed.

“We are helpless in death, but we are not helpless in life.” ~ Steve Leder

I’ve heard countless times how people need comfort reads right now. This pandemic is finally showing signs of moving on and yet, we are still a little raw and on edge. Comfort reads, food, the warm embrace of a loved one (once vaccinated) are all things we need right now. If you don’t think you can get anything out of this book because you haven’t lost anyone recently, think again. Leder’s writing can help you through any loss and we have all experienced loss lately. He has this amazing way of putting things. I would love to just sit in a room with him and listen to him talk. Here’s a clip from the Today show that effectively illustrates what I mean.

The Beauty of What Remains is a beautiful book. It’s funny and hopeful and a valuable resource for anyone who has ever wondered what to say to a friend after they’ve lost a parent or a child. It’s filled with heartwarming examples of how loved ones can be honored before and after death and includes very practical information for anyone who has to plan a funeral or a celebration of life. This stuff is gold. I never thought a book like this would end up on my list of faves for the year but it’s earned a spot on it. I highly recommend it.

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