The Push

The Push

A Novel

Book - 2021
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"A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, told through the eyes of 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, supportive mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe doesn't find the connection with her young daughter she expected. She's convinced that something is wrong with Violet--the little girl is distant, rejects affection, and behaves maliciously first towards Blythe and then the children at preschool. Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her growing obsession with her daughter's behaviour causes a rift in her marriage to her eminently rational architect husband, Fox. Fox doesn't see the Violet Blythe sees; he sees a wife who is overwhelmed and can't handle the day-to-day basics of being a mother. And the more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity.... Then her son, Sam, is born and Blythe has a fresh start on motherhood. With Sam, she feels the natural connection she had so longed-for with Violet. And Violet seems to love her little brother, too. Until the day that Violet's behaviour turns tragic. The devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth about herself, her past, and her daughter. The Push is a novel about mothers and their children and about how an unspeakable act can reverberate and change the lives around us forever. It's a book that is impossible to put down and impossible to forget."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Toronto] :, Viking,, 2021
ISBN: 9780735239890
Branch Call Number: FICTION AUD
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 23 cm

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PansyT
Feb 25, 2021

Have to agree with the other five star ratings. Quite a gripping story, and as we are being told the tale, we have to wonder about the narrator. Is she plausible? Honest? Suffering a mental illness of some kind? The short historical visions of her dysfunctional maternal role-models might lead us to doubt her veracity. I tended to side with her, accepting what she is telling us, and also believe the ending of the story justifies that. Also pleased that such a successful novel is written by a Canadian author. A great diversion from our seemingly endless COVID days.

c
Cidherman
Feb 25, 2021

This was the kind of book that will stay in my thoughts far into the future. It is extremely well written and captures the essence of what people expect of Mother's and the harsh judgement that befalls those who are incapable of living up to the ideal.

The "perfect mother" probably doesn't exist but some people are naturals, and for those who aren't, they may judge themselves harshest of all. Blyth, the protagonist in THE PUSH feels an aversion to one of her children, who she suspects without actually voicing the words, of being a budding sociopath. She thinks her four year old is responsible for the death of another child, and she can't bring herself to fake unconditional love for her.

As the years go by the lack of love and trust between them causes a gulf neither one can cross or get around and damages both of them irreparably.

The book is so well done and a real page turner. My only problem with it was some confusion over past references to Blyth's own mother and her early experiences. I found myself confused as to what was going on because the shift between present and past tense should have been clearer and smoother. The plot, the character development and the writing deserve 5 stars, so I didn't dock it for the ungainly shifts between past and present.

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LBJ
Feb 23, 2021

Absolutely loved this book.
Hard to read but then again harder to put down.
Chilling story about motherhood.

I will put together a better review but for now

YES A MUST READ.

A great fast read!!!

b
Bookworm1136
Feb 18, 2021

5 stars. This book. I rarely give a 5 star rating to a book, let alone to a debut novel by a new author, but I can't give this book anything else. I started reading it last night and have found myself compelled to finish it. And when I got to the end, I said "Oh Wow". Blythe is a young woman who was raised by a cold mother who abandoned her, and she is determined to be a warm and loving mother to her future children. She and her husband Fox have a solid happy contented marriage and when she eventually gets pregnant, it seems like all her dreams have come true. When Violet arrives, Blythe finds she does not connect with her and the baby seems to hate her, pushing her away and screaming when she holds her, something that does not happen when Fox or other people hold her. This continues as she grows up. When Blythe gives birth to son Sam, she instantly connects with him and he with her. And Violet appears to be a devoted older sister. But then the unthinkable happens and the world is never the same for Blythe. This book engaged me emotionally and was a roller coaster ride of emotions as I turned the pages. An excellent book and one of the best books I've read in a long time.

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carolwu96
Feb 16, 2021

Although I never liked children and decided against reproduction a long time ago, I have been reevaluating this decision recently. I will save you the philosophical and pragmatic musings, but will say that such contemplations are the reasons for which I was intrigued by the motherhood-gone-wrong premise of the book. For all the women who tout the mother-child bond as the happiest surprise, there have to be a few who lack such a connection. What happens to them? ⁣

The protagonists, Blythe, is the daughter of such a mother. Abandoned at a young age, she is resolved to reject motherhood herself but eventually yields to the expectations of the love of her life. Yet her daughter is sinister from the beginning, and the story takes a thrilling turn as Blythe realizes that the biggest tragedy of her life may have been of this daughter’s doing. ⁣

As multiple narratives intersect, the reader begins to suspect that Blythe might not be the most reliable narrator. This is the mystery that keeps us on our toes until the very end, through Blythe’s battles against her own unhealed childhood trauma, her efforts to become a perfect mother, and their consequences in the face of an uncomprehending husband and other truly blithe (in its original meaning) mothers. ⁣

For this reason, when the answer is finally revealed, it, anticlimatically, no longer seems so important. As someone told me before I began this book, it is really difficult to point to a single character as the source of the tragedy. And that is my favorite aspect of this book——similar to in real life, familial disintegrations are often the culmination of myriad factors, but one mistake that sits at the heart of many characters’ unhingements is that, to which the author skillfully alludes in a seemingly tangential plot development, they have taken “too long to speak.”

c
carolefort
Feb 15, 2021

Every now and then a book comes along that completely captures the attention of the reader, telling a story like no other. The Push by Ashley Audrain is just that kind of book. It makes you want to read it in one sitting but you will dread the turning of each page. This psychological thriller will stay in my memory for a long time to come. And the subject is simply motherhood. Not much can be divulged about the details so as not to reveal the plot. A young mother, Blythe, is expecting her first child. She soon realizes that her new daughter, Violet, is not bringing out her maternal instinct, only making her feel guilty and inadequate. Her husband does not see the problem and makes it worse by not being supportive. Years later, her son Sam is born and she falls madly in love with her second child. But you must read The Push to find out what happens. I recommend the book highly to readers of psychological fiction and family drama. It is a difficult read but is absolutely worth it. The characters are flawed but interesting, the plot is uniquely original and completely mesmerizing. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

j
JCY
Feb 11, 2021

Basically “The Bad Seed” (1957), with more attention to societal pressures on mothers.

JCLHeatherC Feb 04, 2021

Man, what an emotional roller coaster.

h
heatherbrenner
Jan 30, 2021

Okay four stars and a half stars. What an ending! I had my own prediction of how it was going to end, but that didn't up being the actual end. That's okay though because the real ending was still WOW! I rated it four and a half stars because sometimes it was like really graphic, like when they described the births. Like Almond, I really enjoyed the short chapters. Before I knew it was going to be a movie, I would think to myself, "wow is this going to be a movie?" It also was a little bit confusing to understand the POV and I didn't completely grasp it until a few chapters in. And the time jumping was weird at first. It was a unique perspective on motherhood that I have never read before. Also, I think Violet did it.

ArapahoeChristineS Jan 09, 2021

Whoa, this multilayered family drama/suspense was a gripping page turner. Dealing with generational mental illness, child neglect/emotional abuse, possibly postpartum depression, and deep, desperate grief, this was a challenging yet fascinating read. Written in the first person with flashbacks of the narrators past, it leaves you wondering.... I won’t say more except this was extraordinary!

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zephyr63
Feb 19, 2021

zephyr63 thinks this title is suitable for 50 years and over

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