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Monday, May 10, 2021


To say it is powerful, thought-provoking and entirely chilling, is an understatement. (Review by Fiona de Goede) 

Mother. Daughter. Angel. Monster? 

The Push is an addictive, gripping and compulsive read that asks what happens when women are not believed – and what if motherhood isn’t everything you hoped for but everything you always feared. 

Ashley Audrain launches herself onto the literary stage with The Push, her debut novel. To say it is powerful, thought-provoking and entirely chilling, is an understatement. Days after I had finished the book it was still uppermost in my mind, forcing me to debate and argue the age-old question: nurture or nature? What is it that shapes us and make us the people we are…? 

Blythe Connor had an unconventional childhood – and that is putting it mildly. Her mother, Cecilia, had her own demons that tortured her as did her mother, Etta, before her. Both Cecilia and Etta did not naturally respond to the instinctive mothering urge. It was almost as if the motherhood gene was missing in their DNA. Cecilia therefore had a miserable childhood with Etta as her mother and she, Cecilia, continued with the lack of mothering with her own daughter, Blythe. 

Blythe and her husband Fox are madly in love, living a perfectly idyllic life – and then Blythe falls pregnant. She decides to be the best possible mother and to give her daughter, Violet, all the love that she never experienced as a child. But from the start, Blythe struggles. Violet is a difficult baby and seems to resent her mother. Fox cannot understand what is bothering Blythe as Violet is a totally different baby when she is with him. 

She then becomes pregnant once again – this time she gives birth to a boy, Samuel. This is a totally different experience and for the first time Blythe feels what it is to be a mother. Her relationship with her son is uncomplicated and unconditional. 

Then, one day, on her way home with her two children, crossing a busy intersection, a tragedy occurs. This event has a catastrophic impact on Blythe and Fox’s marriage. Their lives change irrevocably, they drift apart and Blythe becomes more and more unhinged . 

Without going into too much detail of how the story unfolds, as this will definitely spoil the ending of the book for anyone planning on reading it, I can honestly say that I will put The Push on my list of “must reads”. 

My only criticism would be that the author adopts a style of writing whereby she addresses her husband as “you” throughout the book, almost as if she is telling him a story. This was rather off-putting initially but once one gets used to this style of narration, it was fine. I personally think if the book was written in a more conventional style, the impact could have been even greater. However, this is just my humble opinion. 

Apparently, the author has another book due out soon – "The Whispers". If it is anything like her debut novel, I will certainly be reading it the minute it is available. – Fiona de Goede. 

The Push is published by Penguin. ISBN 978-0-241-43456-7