Saturday 30 October 2021

The Push - Ashley Audrain

'I think she pushed him,' I said to you quietly. 'I think she pushed him . . .'

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life. But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn't right.

I had always known that the women in my family aren't meant to be mothers.

My husband Fox says I'm imagining it. He tells me I'm nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child.

But she's different with me. Something feels very wrong.

Is it her? Or is it me? Is she the monster? Or am I?

The Push is an unsettling, breathtaking and powerful read about obsession and our deepest fears that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

What did I think?

I saw so much excitement about The Push on social media that I just had to read a copy for myself.  With short, punchy chapters that beg you to read 'just one more' I devoured this book over a 24 hour period.  I had to keep a tight rein on my eyes at times as they tried to zoom ahead quicker than I could read, especially at the end.  

Written in the first person, the reader is privy to the thoughts and experiences of Blythe as she recounts her experience of motherhood.  Blythe's story is interspersed with snippets of her family history starting with her grandmother in 1939 and followed by her mother in 1957.  Neither of Blythe's ancestors would win mother of the year so it's no wonder that Blythe thinks that she's a bad mother.  It doesn't help that her daughter Violet seems to be the spawn of the devil, or is she?

Blythe often doubts herself so you can't help but wonder how reliable a narrator she is.  It's almost like Blythe and Violet take an instant dislike to each other, or is that just Blythe's impression?  Postnatal depression could explain a lot of Blythe's feelings towards Violet as everyone else thinks that Violet is sweeter than honey.  I found myself inadvertently picking a side and wondering which side other readers would choose: are you Team Blythe or Team Violet?

Ashley Audrain's writing is stunning and with this amazing debut she doesn't just go on the 'one to watch' list, she's on the 'one to read again' list too.  The exploration of motherhood, showing a side that isn't all sweetness and light, is absolutely exquisite.  Not every woman finds that motherhood comes naturally but it's almost a taboo subject even though it shouldn't be something to be embarrassed about.

The Push is an exceptional debut; it's chilling, disturbing and completely compelling.  If ever there was a book guaranteed to be read in one day, this is it.  Believe the hype; this book is FANTASTIC!

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