Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain

Author: Ashley Audrain
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Released: January 5th, 2021
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Postpartum depression, paranoia, abuse, infant death, neglect, suicide

3 kitties

The Push is Ashely Audrain’s debut novel, and it’s a novel that I’ve been hearing so many positive things about. It’s a psychological drama with tense family moments all throughout, and has resonated with many readers, from the sounds of it.

Blythe Conner didn’t have what one would call a dream mother, when she was growing up. She made a promise to herself that she would do better with her own baby, Violet. Only…there’s something wrong.

With Violet that is, not with Blythe. She can see that there’s something wrong, even if nobody else believes her. Her belief about this hidden truth is confirmed with the birth of her second child, Sam. He’s perfect, and she doesn’t get that same sense of wrongness from him.

Blythe’s journey through motherhood is far from simple, and far from over. As she has many trials in store for her.

“I’ve come here to give this to you. This is my side of the story.”

The Push was not exactly what I had been expecting, if I’m being completely honest. It was fascinating on some levels, and very well written. But I did not find that emotional connection that many other readers have mentioned in their reviews.

I hate it when I pick up a book, expecting to love it, and I don’t. I wanted to love The Push. I went into it with high expectations, and I simply wasn’t blown away by it. Maybe it’s the subject matter that was explored.

On that note: Content (and spoiler) warning: The Push explores many concepts and tropes, from postpartum depression to paranoia and abuse. Also depicted are scenes involving infant death, neglect, suicide, and a crumbling marriage. So not exactly a light read, by any means.

For me, I think the biggest problem is that the entirety of The Push revolves around the Bad Seed trope. It’s far from being my favorite trope, and thus I just couldn’t get into this narrative, no matter how intriguingly it is written.

Normally I love domestic suspense/psychological thrillers, so you can imagine my disappointment here. I think that’s the main reason I’m going with a three star rating, as opposed to something slightly higher. Still, I feel like I’m missing something for not loving this novel – as everyone else seems to have adored it. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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