A Disturbing but Highly Engaging Psychological Thriller: THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain
Updated: Aug 24
(Pro tip: Don’t read the Goodreads description of this book. It’s spoiler-y and may ruin the suspense.
DISCLAIMER: Following is a spoiler-free review of THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain. I wasn’t paid or anything to review the book.
In THE PUSH, a psychological thriller by Ashley Audrain, Blythe Connor struggles with the challenges of motherhood. Her daughter’s unusual behavior raises several red flags, but her husband insists her doubts are unfounded. Is it all in her head, or is something dreadfully wrong with her daughter?
I borrowed this book from my sister when I went to my hometown for a break. I sat huddled on the couch with a warm cup of coffee reading THE PUSH. Rain pattered and the breeze fell coolly on my face as I turned page after page without a pause.
You can be certain I thoroughly enjoyed reading this psychological thriller. I had visceral reactions to the prose. The narrative is descriptive but not so much that it takes you out of the story. Every description adds meaning and deeper context to the story which either makes you contemplate or gets you excited for the events to follow.
The central character, Blythe, makes a classic case of an unreliable character. At times, you empathize with her while other times you doubt her intentions. There wasn’t a single moment where I felt bored by her perspective. She makes for an interesting protagonist albeit with flaws. The rest of the characters played their parts convincingly, especially Blythe’s daughter. You can sense right at the start she’s got dangerous ideas in her head. However, the author maintains doubt till the very end.
The short chapters and the back and forth from past to present added to the intrigue. As you find out more about Blythe’s ancestors, you start questioning her intentions. While some readers may not be comfortable with the theme of THE PUSH, I found the concept to be rather fresh. The exploration of the fact that motherhood isn’t a welcome change for some women was a thought-provoking element in the novel.
I can’t comment on the mental health representation in THE PUSH, but I found the perspectives convincing. Ardent readers of this genre may find the plot to be predictable. Yet the constant to and fro in Blythe’s thoughts kept me second-guessing.
Seldom do I find a psychological thriller that leaves a deeper impact on the memory. I still think about the book even after days have passed since I read it. I highly recommend THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain to fans of books in the vein of VERITY by Colleen Hoover & SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn. This one makes for a dark autumnal read as well so you can cozy up with it in the fall seasons.
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