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Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
The Push is Ashley Audrain’s debut novel. In it, we follow Blythe Connor, a mother who is convinced that something is wrong with her daughter Violet. Violet isn’t like other children…or is she? Blythe’s husband tries to tell her she’s imagining things, but Blythe isn’t so sure. When she finally has the son, Sam, that she’s always dreamed of, Blythe is convinced things will be normal. But one devastating incident forces Blythe to face the truths she’s tried to ignore.
This book is a contemporary masquerading as a thriller. Which isn’t a bad thing, I just went into it with the wrong expectations (which I think is becoming a trend here on my site). I thought this was a solid debut; it had a good plot and interesting things to say about motherhood and the expectations of it. I also really liked the ending, which left the book off on a creepy note that hadn’t been present for most of the plot.
This book is a solid debut. I’m not a mother, so I can’t say that I can fully understand the emotions and expectations that this book attempts to capture and describe. However, there are some universal themes in here that are really impactful, especially that of women being dismissed and not believed. I really felt for Blythe throughout the duration of the story, and it was often frustrating to read. The resulting feelings of paranoia and my own feelings of skepticism toward Blythe as a narrator made me evaluate some things about myself and why I didn’t believe her.
I think the ‘thriller’ aspect of this book is more real, everyday horror than the ominous, edge-of-your-seat thriller I was expecting. This book addresses a lot of worries about motherhood and the fear that you won’t have that instant love and bond with your child that seemingly everyone talks about. That’s real fear, and while I think this book was mislabeled it was very horrifying in that sense.
I think the biggest negative of this novel for me was the lack of connection that I felt to the characters or the plot. I’m not a mother and don’t plan on becoming one for a while, so the realistic horror and worry of the themes of the plot didn’t hit home for me like they might someone else. I also found this book to be mostly forgettable. With the exception of the last scene, which I greatly enjoyed, there wasn’t much about this book that’s made it stick with me now that I’m writing this review almost two months later.
Rating & Final Thoughts
I give The Push 3.5 out of 5 stars. I think this was a good, solid debut and had some important and real themes that ground the horror present into everyday life. I think you’d like this book if you gave it a read, but there are just so many more memorable thrillers out there that I don’t have much to say about this one.
Purchase The Push by Ashley Audrain here.