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Review: The Push (Ashley Audrain)

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 as 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 (Ashley Audrain) 5 out of 5 Stars

Right from the start, this book is HEAVY. If you’re looking for an easy, quick whodunnit thriller, this isn’t it. I think I actually found this book physically difficult to get through, as it covers so many uncomfortable topics that you inevitably feel like you’re living through following Blythe’s story. I actually found myself having to sit for a few seconds, recovering after finishing this book. Sounds awful right? Well, as much as this was an uncomfortable read, it also happened to be one I just could not put down. The writing, the suspense, the well-constructed story, and the brutal honesty of it all were everything.

Story

Blythe’s story is told in the form of a long first-person letter to another lead player. This was a refreshing and unique concept, and for me, it took some getting used to but after a while, you find yourself completely wrapped up in the narrative. I’ve seen a lot of people who read this book didn’t think it was particularly thriller-y, but I found this a particularly incredible psychological thriller by the way it planted the dead of uncertainty in my mind. The suspense of not knowing what Violet was capable of doing, and the wondering of whether what Blythe was seeing was real, or all in her head. Audrian includes maternal histories of Blythe’s mother and grandmother which highlights the history of the abuse given by the mothers in the family. The way her mother treats her causes us to doubt whether Blythe’s own parenting is reminiscent of her mother’s, and maybe Violet isn’t the problem. I felt this was very unique and engaging storytelling and also a great way to break up from the long first-person perspective.

Characters

My heart has never hurt for a fictional character so bad, Ashley Audrain sure didn’t hold back! The exceptional writing created so much backstory for Blythe, you help but find yourself so emotionally invested in her character. From her first meeting Fox, to their marriage, her life as a child and young adult. On paper, it sounds like a lot for one book, but the pacing is just right and it’s all the information needed to feel truly invested in the character.

Ending

I could not have asked for a better ending, (I think I actually *gasped*). I found myself racing to the end, desperate for Blythe’s experiences to be validated by others, and because I genuinely cared for the character right to the end, just to see if she gets through this.

I know it’s early on, but this has to be by far one of my favourite books this year so far. I had a hard time putting The Push down even though I found it disturbing.

Enjoyed wouldn’t be the right word, but it was fantastically written and very compelling. So compelling it continued to linger in my mind long after I finished (is a book hangover a thing?). It’s raw and heartbreakingly honest, and if you’re looking for a dark and emotional read with some added mystery, this is one to get your hands on.

You can purchase The Push from Amazon here.

READ MORE: The Marsh King’s Daughter Book Review

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