Monday 25 January 2021

The Push

Finished January 22
The Push by Ashley Audrain

This tense psychological thriller is set mostly around Blythe a young woman, who falls in love, marries, and has children. But it jumps back into the experiences of other women in her family at certain points, and into her own childhood. Besides her own earlier life experiences, we see her mother Cecilia and her grandmother Etta. 
Beginning with Etta, who had a difficult childhood and felt like an outsider, we see a pattern with her daughter Cecilia, who felt unloved, yet tried to connect with her mother, until she couldn't anymore, and tried to find a better life for herself. And Blythe herself tried to connect with her mother, but when she couldn't found a substitute mother figure to connect with.
Blythe isn't sure about her own ability to be a good mother. Her husband Fox reassures her and pushes her on the issue, and she has a baby girl, Violet. But Blythe doesn't feel a connection to her daughter at first, and finds the lack of sleep, the lack of understanding from Fox, and her own daughter's personality all contribute to this. Her second child, Sam, is a completely different story, and she connects with him instantly and continues to as he grows. She worries about the discrepancy between the children, but Violet seems to cherish Sam as well, and she hopes that life will improve for the family. 
One thing I found interesting was the men in this book. They were largely absent emotionally for Blythe and her mother and grandmother. The women in the previous generations had strong personalities and the men seemed to focus on them rather than their daughters. For Blythe it is different. Once Violet is born, she is Fox's focus and Blythe's concerns and feelings are dismissed and ignored. So Blythe has been failed twice by the men in her life. 
Even when things are dark, Blythe doubts herself and tries to make some type of connection to her daughter, but once Sam exists, we can see that her joy is from him. She has a good relationship with her mother-in-law and has confided in her to some extent, but holds back as Blythe expects that if sides have to be chosen, she will not be. 
Things escalate slowly, pull back, and escalate again, with the suspense growing as the plot moves forward. I found the one friend connection that Blythe made interesting and how it still had a shadow that existed even when it stopped being what it was. 
An amazing read!

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