‘The women in this family, we’re different . . .’
– The Push
[ About The Book ]
“We expect to have good mothers, and to marry, and to be good mothers. The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life. I would be different. I would be like other women for whom it all came so easily. I would be everything my own mother was not.
But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn’t right.
My husband Fox says I’m imagining it. He tells me I’m nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child. But she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong. Is she the monster? Or am I?“
The Push is suspenseful, deftly written novel, exploring how an unspeakable act can reverberate through generations. This pacy and at times shocking debut will ignite discussion around the expectations of motherhood that we’re taught not to question, the concept of nature vs nurture, and the notion of unconditional love.
[ My Review ]
The Push by Ashley Audrain was published by Penguin Michael Joseph January 7th and is described as ‘an utterly compelling literary suspense novel’ A novel focusing in on motherhood and the nature vs nurture debate, it is one that will unsettle and disturb readers. I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you all today as part of the blog tour with Penguin Michael Joseph so I do hope you enjoy.
The Push was inspired by Ashley Audrain’s own personal experiences and how she felt six months after giving birth to her son. She began to have doubts as to her own ability to be a mother and asked herself the questions “Am I the right mother for this child? Can I really do this?” Her hope in writing the book is to start a conversation “about the expectations we have of women and mothers, about the experiences we inherit from the women before us, about the weight of loneliness, and about the repercussions of silencing women’s truths”
Being a mother of two girls myself, I clearly remember the insecurity and the lack of confidence I felt in my own ability to mother. I had been the youngest in my family and had little to no experience of handling babies. The misgivings and the self-doubt, the fear of the unknown is very real.
When Blythe Connor gives birth to her baby girl, Violet, she makes a promise that she will break the chain of neglectful motherhood that has existed to date in her own family. She will not be her own mother. She will not be her grandmother. Blythe had a very tough upbringing and the memories of those early years are strong. Now, married to Fox, her partner of many years, and the man she loves dearly, Blythe’s self-confidence is shaky. As Violet grows into a toddler her behaviour, at times, is odd, but surely it’s just normal toddler developmental issues? But, as the months pass, and the more time Blythe is alone with Violet, she starts to wonder. Is Violet different to other children? Is her behaviour normal? Is Blythe looking for trouble where there isn’t any? Fox holds no regard for Blythe’s view blaming fatigue and new motherhood as the issue but Blythe is unsettled. Violet, although very young, looks at Blythe differently, acts inappropriately. Is Blythe paranoid or is something wrong with Violet?
Following the birth of their son Sam, the family dynamic changes. Blythe has an immediate connection with Sam, one very different to that she had felt for Violet. Her distorted feelings are dismissed as being normal following the birth of a second child. But Blythe is unconvinced believing that either she is having some sort of postnatal experience or Violet is the problem.
As Blythe continues to have doubts and suspicions about Violet, her relationship with Fox falters and one day an event occurs that changes the trajectory of their lives forever, a course that sets them down a very disturbing and upsetting path.
The Push is a very disconcerting read. Ashley Audrain raises many questions in the nature vs nurture debate. Genetically we carry many quirks and traits of previous generations but do we carry the badness also? Are folk born evil or does their environment lend itself to them developing as different? The Push is an extremely chilling read, one that unnerves and questions all our beliefs. A very compulsive read, Ashley Audrain has succeeded in opening up a conversation about the darker side to being a mother. It is a book that handles themes of obsession, genetic inheritance, motherhood, marriage and so much more. Written in a style that completely draws the reader in, The Push is an engrossing and frightening tale highlighting the underlying fear of motherhood that will rattle the mind of all readers.
[ Bio ]
ASHLEY AUDRAIN began writing The Push after leaving her job as Publicity Director at Penguin Books Canada to raise her two young children. The experience of being a new mother inspired Ashley to write about the idea of motherhood and expectations, and what happens if that experience turns out to be nothing like it’s supposed to be.
At Penguin, Ashley worked with bestselling authors including Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Meg Wolitzer.
Twitter – @audrain