What if your experience of motherhood was nothing like what you hoped for – but everything you always feared?
‘The women in this family, we’re different . . .’
The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life.
A fresh start.
But as soon as I held her in my arms, I knew something wasn’t right.
I have always known that the women in my family weren’t meant to be mothers.
My husband Fox says I’m imagining it, but she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong.
Is it her? Or is it me?
Is she the monster? Or am I?
The Push is a heart-pounding exploration of motherhood, obsession and the terrible price of unconditional love.
Wow! I consumed this book in two heartrending sittings, it was that good. Where or where did Audrain send her mind and thoughts when she wrote The Push? It felt so personal, so deep, so affecting that when I closed the final page, I had to take a deep breath, close my eyes and think about what I had just read.
That’s when Audrain took us back to the beginning to Blythe’s life as a young girl, as a student, a girlfriend, a wife and finally a mother, the source of what we were about to read full of torment, anguish and love.
What followed was an outpouring of consciousness, of asking where it all went wrong, of internal conversations as to the rights and wrongs of motherly instinct and feelings. I found it utterly fascinating and mesmerising to the point I couldn’t stop reading.
Audrain seemed to think of everything from Blythe’s upbringing, a largely absent mother, who was at times cruel, heartless, loveless, distant and unreachable. Then we had her own experience of motherhood, the perceived feelings of overwhelming love that she should have had as her daughter was placed on her chest. Where was it, where were those feelings, was history to repeat herself, was she replicating herself own mother and upbringing?
The disconnect was absolute, the reactions of her daughter, Violet distressing, the questioning remarks from her husband Fox to try harder, seemed insensitive, dismissive.
Audain made me feel empathy with Blythe, I wanted people to believe her when she saw that glint of hate, of cruelty in Violet. And that was the most terrifying and indeed distressing aspect, that a little girl could seemingly wield so much power, manipulate, bend others to her will.
You watched as Blythe tried so hard, questioned her lack of feeling, that maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a mother until a son arrives and that motherly love rushed at her and consumed her.
You read as the dynamics of the family changed, a status quo achieved until bang, tragedy and the world fell apart.
It was hard to read the fallout, I felt frustrated and anger at those that surrounded Blythe, sometimes at Blythe herself as I wanted her to fight back, to prevail and find happiness.
The true impact of this novel lay in the final sentence, one that was hard to forget, that will linger long after you set the book down. You needed time to reflect, digest and marvel in the authors skill and wonder just where her next novel would take you.
About the author
ASHLEY AUDRAIN previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Push is her first novel.