The Push by Ashley Audrain is a psychological thriller about mothers and daughters, expectations of motherhood, and mental illness.
The long standing expectation of parents, and in particular mothers, is that they will have an instant bond with their child, automatically be nurturing and loving, but not everyone has this experience. It certainly wasn't true for Blythe Connor's mother and Blythe wants to be so much better than her own mother.
When Blythe and her husband Fox, have their daughter, Violet, Blythe doesn't feel connected to her. The little girl seems to like her father more and they obviously have a special bond. Parenthood is hard; maybe it's just a phase and maybe it's just the difficulties of adjusting to motherhood, but Blythe feels it's more than that. As Violet grows older, the distance is still there. Fox dismisses Blythe and sometimes Blythe thinks maybe it is all in her head.
When their son Sam is born Blythe has an instant connection with him. This causes some tension between Blythe and Fox and when the unimaginable happens it only pushes them further from each other.
This thriller is written from Blythe's perspective which makes the reader wonder if she is a reliable narrator. Is what she thinks about her family true? Are all of the other mothers really better at mothering than she is? Can she keep her marriage together? The flashbacks to her own mother and childhood are heart wrenching.
The story moves at a good pace and the only character we get to know well is Blythe which is very clever for this story and adds to the mystery of what is really happening and who the reader can trust.
The ending was not a surprise for me, but only because I have read similar stories. Overall, I thought this was an excellent debut and I look forward to reading more from Ashley Audrain.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🌱