Tag Archives: Motherhood

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: Northern Spy

Northern Spy

Northern Spy
By Flynn Berry
Viking, 9780735224995, April 6, 2021, 288pp

The Short of It:

I had no idea what I was stepping into but surprisingly, this spy story was very readable and held my interest.

The Rest of It:

Tessa is the mother of young Finn. While at work in Belfast, news of a raid comes on the air. Bomb threats and security checkpoints have become the norm as the IRA makes themselves known after being underground for years. Tessa’s main concern is the safety of her young son but Belfast has been home to her, her sister Marian and her mother for as long as she can remember. She wants to be safe, but where can they go?

Then, one day, a robbery takes place and the security footage clearly shows her sister as one of the robbers. Donning a black ski mask, Marian gazes at the security cameras. Tessa is sure that her sister has been kidnapped and is being used by the IRA. What other explanation could there be? Tessa finds herself being questioned by the authorities and when her sister fails to return home, Tessa can only imagine the worst.

This was a unique story and one I was not expecting. It takes common, every day folks and puts them in extraordinary circumstances, politically. There’s some action and many dangerous moments as Tessa and her family find themselves in the middle of the fight for freedom. Her ties to her young son, not even a year old yet is what keeps her grounded but out of concern for her sister, Tessa makes some dangerous decisions and it’s those situations that she puts herself into that keep you turning the pages. I finished this book in one sitting. If you are looking for an adventurous read, this is it.

I do have a couple of criticisms though. As a reader, I absolutely wanted to know that Tessa was safe. Her commitment to her son Finn is what strings you along but I don’t feel as if I spent enough time with Marian for me to care a whole lot about her safety. Besides her being Tessa’s sister, she seemed very disposable to me. I didn’t feel her passion for the movement come through at all. You should know right off that I enjoy a good spy movie and yes, a good spy story now and then but all the politics go over my head and perhaps that is why I could not connect with Marian on the same level as I did with Tessa.

This is an interesting choice for Reese Witherspoon’s book club. I’ve read many of her picks and enjoyed many of them including this one. I can totally see this being adapted for the big screen.

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