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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Push

Narrator: Marin Ireland


ISBN: 1984881663

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Publication Date: 01/05/21

Format: Audio & e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars +

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick

"An intense psychological drama that will be embraced by serious book clubs and fans of Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk about Kevin." (Kristin Hannah, number one New York Times best-selling author)

"A poetic, propulsive read that set my nerves jangling." (Lisa Jewell, number one New York Times best-selling author of Then She Was Gone)

A tense, pause-resisting psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family - and 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 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 like 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 fallout forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will listen to in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.

My Review

Ashley Audrain's chilling debut, THE PUSH —richly layered, explores the dark side of motherhood, the pressures, the story of a marriage, and children behaving badly.

A woman sits in her car, watching a happy family at Christmas. She tracks the husband, wife, teen daughter, and young son. We know there is darkness coming or has been in the past. (this part was spellbinding).

We are introduced to Blythe Connor. In the beginning, the one sitting in the car observes another family. The girl in the family is her daughter. How did she wind up with this family?

We learn of the dating, the marriage, and the downfall of Blythe and Fox Connor. The woman in the car and the man in the window. An architect, she, a writer. Fox dreamed of having babies with Blythe.

From flashbacks, we learn of the horrible traumas and scars, from mother to grandmother back to the 30s. Childhood cruelties are handed down from one generation to another, making it sometimes difficult to read.

Blythe Connor is wary of becoming a parent. Her mother abandoned her when she was 11 after years of cruelty. Her abusive grandmother hung herself from a tree in the front yard. There are scars she carries. Can she break the cycle?

Blythe gives in to Fox, putting her writing ambitions on hold. She struggles between her inherited nature and the mother she is expected to be.

When Violet is born — a colicky baby girl who refuses to be comforted — it drives Blythe further away and deeper into her anxiety. She grows into a manipulative child. Has she been raised this way or born this way? Nature vs. nature. What if children turn violet?

She struggles with feelings of inadequacy as she fails to live up to the perfect ideal mother. The only way forward after the tragedy was to have a second child. Redemption—Blythe wanted another shot at motherhood.

Things seem to be easier once her son, Sam, is born. It is different. Blythe adores him. But there is evil in Violet. Is she a danger to her younger brother?

"Mothers aren't supposed to have children who suffer. We aren't supposed to have children who die. And we are not supposed to make bad people."

Postpartum depression with reminders of the traumatic family history and mental health. You sympathize with Blythe, but at times she is an unreliable narrator.

Now Blythe is all alone. Blythe did not believe her or shut it out to protect Violet. Did Fox sacrifice his relationship with his wife in defense of his daughter? Which should be the priority? Fox refuses to see what is clear to Blythe, and the conflict cracks in their marriage/.

Blythe begins to doubt her perceptions but realizes she is correct. Your heart goes out to her. The author examines women, their fears, and their anxieties that they do not measure up or are dictated by society—from a marriage fallout and the trauma of multi-generational mothers to Blythe befriending Gemma, Fox's new partner.

Written as a memoir in Blythe's voice, she addresses the reader—her husband as "you" throughout. The writing is lyrical and beautiful.

THE PUSH is dark, heartbreaking, haunting, raw, chilling, and emotional. A Good Morning Book Club pick is assured to be a hit by a talented new writer—a cross between literary and psychological suspense thriller fiction.

THE PUSH is complex, intense, multi-layered, and compelling. The ending is chilling. The book is unputdownable!

Highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Marin Ireland for a chilling, engaging, and absorbing performance.

NOTE: I listened to the audiobook in 2021 when THE PUSH came out. I just finished The Whispers (review coming) and was planning on linking this review, and I discovered I failed to post my review. I went back to reread the e-book and catch up. It was as fantastic as I remembered.

I highly recommend both THE PUSH and THE WHISPERS, Coming June 5, 2023.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Jan 5, 2021

My Rating: 5 Stars


A Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Entertainment Weekly, Marie Claire, AARP, CrimeReads, Lit Hub, and Newsweek

As seen in Washington Post, USA Today, Good Housekeeping, Goop, Refinery29, Woman’s Day, Working Mother, New York Post, and more

“What happens when a mother doesn’t love her daughter? Audrain’s debut is a tense, chilling dip into the dark side of motherhood, narrated by Blythe, whose own upbringing raises the question: Can one inherit an inability to parent? The Push is uncomfortable and provocative, like a train wreck that demands your gaze.”

—The Washington Post

“This taut and tense hurricane of a debut is best devoured in one sitting.”


“Fans of psychological thrillers, crack open this one about the relationship between mothers and daughters.”

—Good Housekeeping

“A chilling page-turner that asks provocative questions.”

—Real Simple

“A thrilling debut.”

—Harper’s Bazaar

“Well thought out, carefully crafted, vividly realised and gripping... The Push turbo-charges maternal anxieties with a fierce gothic energy.”

—The Guardian

“Taut, chilling….Audrain has a gift for capturing the seemingly small moments that speak volumes about relationships.”

—New York Times Book Review

“Hooks you from the very first page and will have you racing to get to the end.”

—Good Morning America

“A psychological thriller that will make you question everything you know about motherhood.”


“This is a sterling addition to the burgeoning canon of bad seed suspense, from an arrestingly original new voice.”

— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Both an absorbing thriller and an intense, profound look at the heartbreaking ways motherhood can go wrong, this is sure to provoke discussion.”

— Booklist

“This is a raw, immediate, propulsive, thought-provoking book, with an ending that hits like a sledgehammer. You will be talking about it for a long time.”

— BookTrib

“[A] dazzling exercise in both economy of language and vividness of expression. Audrain’s grasp of Blythe’s inner life—her fears, her hopes, the details that linger in her mind—is so precise and mature that we get lost in this woman’s often troubling world. That feeling propels the novel forward at a blistering pace, but Audrain doesn’t stop there. The Push announces Audrain as a sophisticated, compelling writer, perfect for fans of thrillers and intimate family dramas alike.”

— BookPage

“Starkly original and compulsively readable, Ashley Audrain's THE PUSH is a deep dive into the darkest nooks and crannies of motherhood. Raw, visceral, and often disturbing, this is an intense psychological drama that will be embraced by serious book clubs and fans of Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk about Kevin.”

— Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“THE PUSH was a poetic, propulsive read that set my nerves jangling in both horror and recognition. I read it in one sitting and it stayed with me for days afterwards. Not to be missed.”

— Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone

“With its riveting prose and deep convictions, Ashley Audrain’s THE PUSH had me in its clutches from the first page. Audrain’s astute portrayal of motherhood was unsettling in its insights, yet highly entertaining on the page. Complex, nuanced, and unflinching, I inhaled this debut in one sitting.”

— Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

“Intensely absorbing, gripping until the final page, The Push excavates the myths of motherhood, deftly exploring the shape-shifting landscape of parenting, the powerful impact of the past on the present, and the deep unease of our inability to ever fully know even those we hold the closest.”

— Kim Edwards, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

“I read The Push in a single sitting, ignoring my children, my phone, and staying up way too late, unwilling to break the spell cast by Ashley Audrain's bold, gorgeous prose and propulsive plot. In the months since, my mind has returned, again and again, to The Push, which is unlike any other novel I've read. This is a thriller, yes, but one that probes deeply—with enormous intelligence—into what it means to be a mother. And, ultimately—like the best fiction of any genre—what it means to be a person in the world.”

— Joanna Rakoff, internationally bestselling author of My Salinger Year

“Ashely Audrain's The Push is not only a propulsively entertaining, read-in-one-sitting novel, it is also a deeply provocative and fearless look at motherhood written in some of the prettiest prose you’ll read all year.”

— Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

“Written with a courage that borders on audacity, and with uncanny emotional and psychological precision, Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a taut, tour-de-force literary thriller that draws you in from the very first pages and plunges you into the most harrowing of journeys: parenthood.”

— Bill Clegg, New York Times bestselling author of Did You Ever Have A Family?

“THE PUSH is an unflinching examination of motherhood. Audrain lets no one in the Connor family off the hook, yet every character managed to elicit my sympathy. Brilliant, insightful, compassionate, and horrifying. I wish I could read it for the first time over and over. One of the best books I've read all year.”

— Stephanie Wrobel, author of Darling Rose Gold

“The Push is written on the edge of a knife. It’s a howl in the face of what we think we know—or want to believe—about motherhood. Relentlessly compelling, distressing and beautiful, Ashley Audrain’s debut is the next Gone Girl, with shades of We Need to Talk About Kevin. I devoured it whole.”

— Marissa Stapley, bestselling author of The Last Resort

“Stayed up too late finishing [Audrain’s] deeply unsettling The Push about the darkest reaches of motherhood (and profound maternal ambivalence). Visceral, provocative, compulsive, and with the most graphic and relatable description of childbirth I've read (or written).”

— Sarah Vaughan, bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal

“Compelling, beautifully written and wickedly entertaining.... A tremendously thought-provoking read.”

— Liz Nugent, author of Little Cruelties and Lying in Wait

“A meteoric debut. Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a force of nature, an unforgettable arrival that will linger in your heart—shimmer, darken and then haunt you. Perhaps if Stephen King had experienced motherhood...he might have been able to dream up this book. Wise, monstrous, and tender, it seemed to pulse in my hands. I could not put it down. I could not look away.”

— Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker

“The Push is a freight train of a read—it barrels into you and propels you along, taking you places you’re not sure you want to go. I found it disturbing, upsetting, and utterly compelling. This book starts a conversation about aspects of motherhood - expectation versus reality, nature versus nurture, men versus women—that we should be talking about, however uncomfortable it might be.”

— Beth Morrey, author of The Love Story of Missy Carmichael

“A tense and unsettling thriller that's immersive, chilling, and provocative. A book that's best read in one sitting.”

— Iain Reid, author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things

“Utterly mesmerising. Ashley Audrain's powerful debut novel explores the challenges of motherhood and the terrifying isolation of being trapped within a sinister truth that no one else believes.”

— Fiona Valpy, #1 bestselling author of The Skylark's Secret

About the Author

ASHLEY AUDRAIN previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She is a graduate of the Media, Information & Technoculture program at Western University. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Push is her first novel. Website

"How first-time novelist Ashley Audrain secured a multimillion-dollar deal for The Push." —The Globe and Mail Read More






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