Mini Review: “The Push” by Ashley Audrain

The Push by Ashley Audrain; book cover from goodreads, background from unsplash user jj ying
Original background cover photo credit: Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

Your house glows at night like everything inside is on fire.

The Push, Chapter 1 opening

Author: Ashley Audrain
Publication Date:  January 5th 2021
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Find it on: Goodreads


A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born–and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.

From Goodreads


Book Content Warnings: stalking, absent parent / family abandonment, child abuse, neglect, …(DNF)

I was so excited to see this book as an option in my Book of the Month membership a few months back! I’d heard a lot of great things about it from bookish creators I follow on YouTube and other blogs saying that it’s unsettling in a great way and stylistically different from other thrillers. Although I didn’t finish the book I certainly found that to be the case.

The writing style took a bit of getting used to. Instead of the typical first or third person POV most authors pick from, Ashley Audrain chose to write in second person as if addressing the reader directly (e.g. “you did X”). While it was jarring at first the style flowed well enough after the first few chapters and leant an intimate tone to the story.

I settled into the book after a while but ended up dropping it about a third the way through due to content. This book hit on some of my major future parenthood fears, and since I plan on having a family in a few years it ended up being just too disturbing for me to finish. Perhaps it’s an overreaction, but I don’t want to have a child and have this book leak into my consciousness when something seems a little off 😂. Really, though, this reaction is a kudos to the author’s ability to create an emotional powerhouse story that hits on deep-seated psychological triggers.

In all while I didn’t end up finishing it I’d recommend this as a unique psychological family thriller for those who aren’t shy about a disturbed child / gaslit mother read.


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