Title: The Push
Author: Ashley Audrain
Page Count: 307
Publishing Date/Publisher: January 5, 2021 by Pamela Dorman Books
Review: This was a unique sort of thriller, and I almost don’t want to label it as such. There is some amount of suspense, but it is of the creeping “glance over your shoulder” variety. What makes this novel stand out in my mind is the narration style. Blythe, who is a writer by trade, is telling her story to her ex-husband, who has lived the same path of events, but has experienced them entirely differently. Blythe is a character I felt myself feeling deep sympathy for as she struggles to settle into motherhood. She does not connect with her first child in the way she hoped for and when she starts observing disturbing behavior, she is immediately dismissed by her husband. This is a woman who has virtually no support network. No friends or family she can turn to. No one to validate her feelings and help her process her trauma. As readers we watch the slow dissolution of her marriage and the unraveling of her sanity. She questions her own words and actions, and develops a deep sense of paranoia that permeates the story. But are her fears valid? Is her daughter really a little sociopath? Or is she imagining things? What makes this story so enthralling is that it is difficult to say. It is clear that Blythe is an unreliable narrator and as an outsider, it’s painful to see the fallout of generational trauma, untreated post-partum depression, and crippling grief. If I were to rate this book on the writing alone, I would give it 4+ stars. I rate it lower because the truth is I really did not enjoy it. Blythe is living a mother’s worst nightmare, and quite frankly, it left me feeling anxious and deeply unsettled.
Rating: 3.5 Stars