The Push, Ashley Audrain

Domestic thriller. Suspense. Psychological thriller. Literary fiction. The Push, by Ashley Audrain, contains aspects of all these genres with tropes including unreliable narrator, bad seed, inter-generational trauma, and gaslighting.

The author describes her debut novel as “a story about one woman’s journey through motherhood that turns out to be nothing like what she hoped for—in fact, it’s everything she always feared.”

I’m a picky reader – I’m fine with not finishing a book if it doesn’t work for me. This book worked – it kept me turning pages, and the writing was strong … and there was this passage:

I remember one day realizing how important my body was to our family … I stood naked in front of the mirror after taking off my sweater, which was covered in the pureed peas Sam had spit up. My breasts wilted like the plant in our kitchen I could never remember to water. My stomach spilled over the indent from my underwear like the foam on the edge of my lukewarm latte. My thighs were marshmallows punctured with a roasting stick. I was mush. But the only thing that mattered was that I could physically keep us all going. My body was our motor.

That paragraph is such a perfect description of the endurance it sometimes takes to run a family, and it earned this author a “definite finish” rating … and prompted me to join the library waiting list for her next book.