Cover Image: The Push

The Push

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Member Reviews

I was eager to read this after hearing so much hype about it, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. This WAS compulsively readable and I finished it within 24 hours, however I kept waiting for some big reveal or twist that never came. The multiple timelines and change in generational stories could be confusing at times and I'm ultimately not sure how those stories connected to Violet's character. There are LOTS of content warnings for this one: child death, PPD, vaginal birth, childhood abuse, suicide, abandonment, neglect, miscarriage, infidelity, and some others I'm sure I didn't catch.
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Ok I don’t know how to start . This book was amazing well written , the characters well done , tbd plot of the book was unique . Very easy to read , you won’t put the book down until is finished. I loved this book. 5 starts
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I...don't know how I feel about this book. I almost stopped reading it a quarter of the way through because I wasn't a fan of the way it was being told. Then something interesting happened, and it piqued my interest. Then something even more interesting happened, and I thought I was hooked...until nothing came of it. This is how the entire book read, sadly. And just when it could have really gone to some great places...it ends. That's the most frustrating thing about the read.

Am I upset I read the book? No. It was a fast read, and it was short, which is why I'm not rating it lower. The tone shifted several times...like it didn't know if it wanted to be a character drama with thriller elements, or a thriller with heavy character studies. The thriller aspects are what really elevated the piece, but every time we got to those moments, it shifted back to character studies that we really didn't need. Had this been a straight thriller, this book could have really shined through. But alas, we're left with a book "that might have been" that comes dangerously close to "Well why did we bother?"
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I’d heard quite a bit about this novel before I started it. Perhaps I believed the hype and built it up in my mind. Whatever the case, I was a bit let down with this one. I did not like any of the characters and I spent much of the book hoping someone would redeem themselves a bit. Maybe it’s because I don’t have children, but I couldn’t really connect to the main character, Blythe. I did find the daughter, Violet, to be intriguing and it was thought provoking. The characters did go through a lot through out the course of the book. 

I also didn’t really love the flashbacks and would have preferred the book to play out in real time. I felt like there was too many flashbacks and they didn’t really give me much more insight into Blythe than I already had. I found some of the descriptions to be a bit graphic, as well. I generally don’t mind graphic scenes, but I felt like they didn’t really do much for me in the context of the story. Maybe it was shock factor? Whatever the case, it make me dislike Blythe even more. 

I will say that the book is well written and easy to read.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Penguin Group Biking for an ARC of this!
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Wow. This one pulled me in instantly from the start. It really makes you stop and think just what your own child could be capable of. I devoured this in a matter of hours.
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Enjoyable read even though it is a somewhat famililar theme that I feel I've read before.   A chilling family drama about a mother that fails to bond with her child and actually feels the child may be somewhat evil.  Of course no one else feels this way except the mother.  The story goes back a few generations, to the main character's mother and her mother - this all makes for a bit of a discombobulating storyline, as I was never quite sure who the story was talking about when it did this and I had to stop and really think about which character was which.  The husband in the story never is identified by name, and is only referred to as "you", so it's a bit of a different style of writing.  Despite this, is is definitely a page-turning that is will enthrall readers and keep them on the edge of their seat till the conclusion.
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I picked up The Push after I heard @sarahsbookshelves talk about it on her Winter Book Preview podcast episode. We are both fans of darker dysfunctional characters and premises and so when I heard her recommendation I knew it was for me!
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I started it and then had a very hard time putting it down. And when I wasn’t reading it, I was still thinking about what was going to happen next. Isn’t that the best kind of reading?!

It isn’t a thriller, and it isn’t just a complex family drama. There’s a psychological element and there are family dysfunction and trauma. It reads like a fast-paced piece of literary fiction…similar to how I felt about Long Bright River…which I loved.
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It’s layered and nuanced, compelling, and also quite upsetting. I have heard it compared to We Need To Talk About Kevin, which I haven’t read, so I don’t have that comparison but it really is like nothing I have ever read. ⁣
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The parts about the societal expectations of mothers were fascinating and just so spot on. Some of it was a bit uncomfortable and goes to some pretty dark places but that is also what made it just so riveting.
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The look at nature vs. nurture and how our own childhoods shape us into the parents we become is just fascinating. I also love really getting to know the characters and the cross-generational flashbacks of motherhood added so much to this storyline.⁣

I already know The Push will be one of my favorite books of 2021 and I highly recommend it! 

Thank you to Pamela Dorman Books for my gifted copy. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Kudos to Audrain for excellent, compelling writing, but this was just not for me. Generations of cruel, manipulative child abuse; weak and absent men (are they better or worse than the mothers who abuse?), children who die tragically, and all in the sheen of suburbia and the modern expectations of motherhood? No thanks.

Unlike We Need to Talk about Kevin, which covers many of the same and important themes of uncertainty, loneliness and disconnection that motherhood can provoke, The Push simply pushed too far, leaving a distaste and disgust I couldn't shake.

I get that Audrain is trying to drum up the suspense level, and that she wants the reader to wonder about the nature of evil, but as a CASA--a volunteer advocate for children who are in foster care--I can testify firsthand that there's nothing entertaining about child abuse. This may be commercially successful, and I'm sure will spark heated conversation, but I would not recommend.
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4.5 round to 5.  Wow, what a story!

Stories about the bad seed are as old as the bible itself when Cain stealthily does away with his brother, Abel. 
Wayward children, real or imagined, are thus nothing new to written offerings. Ashley Audrain, the author of The Push, adds some further tantalizing ingredients of doubt to this once familiar literary stew by crafting a novel in which the reader is unsure whose hands are actually tarnished with the brush of villainy throughout this incredible novel. 

The question is whether the egg is bad or is it actually the hen that laid it? There is no obvious answer, although we are given faint hints throughout the pages of this taut thriller. Excitement builds with each clue as the author expertly develops all of the characters in a way that left me guessing until the very end- and I loved the ending!

This book is written in a very interesting second person narration approach and although it took me a beat to connect to, I ultimately found it very powerful in telling this story, I was immersed in the characters experiences and feelings, both past and present, throughout the entire book. I finished it in one day, literally could not put it down! I have become a huge fan of Ashley Audrain and look forward to future books. I highly recommend The Push.
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I went into this book expecting another domestic thriller, which is a genre I enjoy. What I got was something much deeper and real, with explorations of motherhood, marriage, grieving, and generational abuse. But like a domestic thriller, the reader is meant to feel uncertain about what is truly happening, and this book delivers that very well. The Push is deeply unsettling but still very engrossing, and I will probably be thinking about it for some time. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC for review.
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We will be releasing a full review of this title on our podcast, Genre Junkies, the week of January 12th. Found on all major podcast platforms. 

Ashley Audrain has one of the most gorgeous and compelling writing styles we have ever read. This novels builds a bridge between Psychological Thrilled and Literary Fiction. Instead of mostly focusing on the “thrills” we see deeper into how the characters are effected by these events. Themes of this book will stick around long after you finish reading it. Nature Vs Nurture, Society’s pressure on women to mother, nurture and be the ultimate caregiver, and tensions in the family and marriage unit. 

Ashley should be proud of this stellar accomplishment.
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Motherhood doesn't come naturally to Blythe Connor. She struggles to bond with her first-born child Violet, which brings up painful memories of her own childhood. Blythe finds Violet difficult to mother, and her feelings of inadequacy grow.  The family seems to settle in after the birth of their second child, however.  Sam is a sweet-natured little boy who restores Blythe's confidence in her ability to nurture her children.  The family's foundation is soon shattered by disturbing events that forever change them.

The Push is a taut, suspenseful tale that delves into the psychological makeup of flawed characters, exposing unravelling relationships and treacherous peril.
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The Push is a page turning psychological thriller about motherhood... the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But it is so much more and really touches your heart with themes ranging from mental illness to gaslighting to nature versus nurture, to a woman’s voice to loneliness, to families and generations of mothers, good and poor examples and the trickle effects of those examples.

The book is written as a journal to her husband.  Blythe pours out her feelings in a way she is never fully able to do in person.  It is like a release, and commands intensity in a brilliant way.  It grabbed me from the prologue to the final words.

I particularly enjoyed how my feelings changed as I read the book.  I found myself initially believing all that Blythe wrote, then I fell into the trap of wondering where the truth really played out.  I didn’t want that to be the case, but the author carefully drove me around until I didn’t know the truth.  Well played!

And this is a debut novel?  So impressive.  It would easily make a great movie as well.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC, I loved it!
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That ending!!! Words cannot describe how many emotions I feel right now. This book is a journey, it makes you think one thing, then slowly you start to change your mind only to leave you breathless with that very last line. Honestly, as a reader I am furious that the book ended that way. It is an ending that is a sucker punch and leaves you anxiously flipping to the next page only to see that the book is over. Yes, the author actually had the audacity to end it that way. After taking a step back you are both impressed and delight by the whirlwind that is this book, then you flip back to irritation and angst. 

If you are looking for a book that progresses in a way that leaves you unsure which way is up and what is the truth, then this is the book for you. Tumultuous is the best way to describe everything that happens in this story.
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I really enjoyed this novel- so much that i couldn't put it down and finished in 2 days!
The flashbacks were an excellent way to flesh out Blythe's character.  I really felt for her.
The scenes with her daughter were chilling. I keep thinking about the ending....
Great for fans of " We Need to Talk About Kevin"
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Excellent thriller, well developed characters, good plot, and some twists along the way. Readers will definitely be talking about this book afterwards, both about the Mom and her relationship with her 2 children (don't want to give away too much) as well as the thriller itself. I look forward to more books by this author and think this book will be quite popular among many readers. 
Thanks for the opportunity to preview this book ahead of time!
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This is difficult--on the one hand it's a tensely written masterpiece BUT on the other hand it feels cribbed from We Need To Talk About Kevin in the most major ways, which made me really uncomfortable and also sad, that such a talented writer would have to follow another writer's glory.
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The Push is a remarkable debut and is a thought-provoking look at motherhood. I haven't read a book that dealt with having a child who one can't/won't love and what that child does to a family since We Need To Talk About Kevin.

The Push is about Blythe and her daughter, Violet. Blythe falls in love with Fox in college and they get married. But Blythe has hidden her upbringing (her mother and grandmother--remarkable and horribly sad stories, both, and excellently drawn) and is very anxious about having children.

Still, she reasons, she loves Fox and wants to be a mother and alongs comes Violet, a gorgeous baby, the apple of Fox's eye, and nothing but grief for Blythe. She finds Violet overwhelming, finds loving her difficult, and Violet, in turn, grows up into a violent child who seems to delight in hurting others. 

What I liked most about The Push is that it asks you to think about Why--why is Violet the way she is, why Blythe can love one child and fear abother, why women are/were made to become mothers and what happens when grief/anger clouds motherhood. There's no doubt that Violet is dangerous but is she as dangerous as Blythe feels she is (definitely) but is that danger that bleeds into her interactions with Violet in turn, teaching Violet that all she can do is destroy?

In short, The Push asks a question that can't easily be answered: Nature or Nurture or both? What makes a child do terrible things and how to we--as people, as parents, and as society--deal with it? Can we? Should we? And if yes...then what?

There are no easy answers, only questions and worries and The Push asks you to look and not flinch or pretend away. It's a brilliant and well written novel that is pretty near impossible to put down. Very highly recommended.
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This is a dark and disturbing psychological thriller that is completely addictive. Once I started it, I couldn't stop and finished it within a day. It explores themes related to motherhood, nature vs. nurture, and mental illness. It's a compelling read that will also make you think.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free e-arc to review.

I'm giving this three stars, because I finished it. To be honest, though - I'm not sure what the point was. There are a lot of rabbit trails and very little explanation. We never really figure out if Blythe is a reliable narrator, if Violet is as awful as Blythe believes her to be, what the issue is that is supposedly plaguing the women of Blythe's family for generations (I'm guessing it's schizophrenia but hey I'm no expert). 

Overall this was not a super satisfying read for me.
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