This The Push book review gives you all the details you need to know about this wildly popular and haunting domestic thriller with social commentary about motherhood.

The push by Ashley audraine held in front of a bookshelf.

Content warning: While I LOVED The Push and VERY highly recommend it as a top book for moms, new or expecting moms should be warned before picking it up. It’s just really raw about that time in life, and I note that most other reviews I have seen have said the same.

What is The Push book by Ashley Audrain about? Essentially, The Push by Ashley Audrain is essentially about whether a couple’s child is inherently good or bad and why. At the heart of the story is a young married couple with two small children, one of which the mother suspects to have a darker side. One very questionable moment involving these children changes everything in their lives forever as this central question is explored.

The Push has been a smash hit with readers (like me) for over two years now. It’s one of those rare books you find yourself still thinking about for so long after you finish reading it. And it’s one of those rare books readers are still flocking to long after it was first published.

Below is your guide to The Push, including details about the genre and main characters, a review with a synopsis, the ending explained, the meaning of the theme, and even answers to frequently asked questions.

The Push by Ashley Audrain: Book Review (with Summary)

The Push Genre: The Push by Ashley Audrain is in the domestic fiction genre with a suspenseful psychological thriller twist.

The Push Characters: The main characters in The Push by Ashley Audrain are a young married couple named Blythe and Fox, and their two young children, Sam and Violet.

The Push is a startling debut novel and a provocative book that really made an impact on me. I have been thinking about it for years now. It’s a psychological thriller that makes social commentary and really makes you think about motherhood, including its darkest sides.

It’s a story about the most life-changing and literal “push” that is childbirth, and the more figurative “push” that society places on women to have children.

Blythe Connor is a woman who had an abusive and uncaring mother, so she’s determined to be the best mother for her own daughter, Violet.

But Violet’s behavior seems “off.” Blythe thinks Violet hates her and may even be malicious. Blythe is in that “new mom” state of confusion, fear, and anxiety, wondering if it’s all in her head. What she’s thinking and feeling is isolating, dark, and raw, and it shines a light on parts of motherhood not often talked about.

What if motherhood is not what a woman anticipated it to be?

The Push WILL make you feel uncomfortable in exploring that question, in a very necessary kind of way.

Blythe’s husband, Fox, abruptly dismisses her fears. So, perhaps Violet really isn’t a “bad” child after all, and it’s Blythe who is an unreliable narrator of this story.

Motherhood is just not what Blythe thought it would be, and it seems everyone is doubting her, including herself.

But when their second child, Sam, is later born, Blythe connects deeply with him and they share a beautiful love — until another questionable moment with Violet changes everything in their lives forever.

As The Push unravels from here, it definitely keeps you guessing who’s good and who’s bad in this mother-daughter relationship, but more importantly, why.

This multi-layered family drama is downright chilling, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat until you uncover the most disturbing truths.

After all, Blythe’s own mother often told her this about her family history: the women in their family are different.

What is the meaning of The Push by Ashley Audrain?

The Push explores the differences between nature and nurture, and how the effects of motherhood can affect generations of family, including the marriages at their cores.

At the end of the day, The Push is a compelling novel that “pushes” us as a society to talk more about the darkest sides of motherhood and to be open to more interpretations of how women are “supposed to” feel about motherhood.

For all of these reasons, it also makes a great book for book clubs that want a really provocative discussion.

“The Push” Book Ending Explained


What happens at the end of The Push book?

After Blythe and Fox divorce, he gets custody of Violet and moves in with his girlfriend, Gemma, with whom he has a son named Jet. Blythe’s relationship with Violet remains strained and eventually, Blythe loses visitation rights.

Just when it seems Blythe has caused the downfall of the family, Gemma calls Blythe and informs her that something happened to Jet, implying that Violet has caused him harm.

Thus, it appears Violet really may be a psychopath and Blythe is vindicated. What’s so haunting about this ending is the chilling truth that Violet is the culmination of generations of parental trauma.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the book The Push a true story?

No, The Push by Ashley Audrain is not a true story. It is a novel in the domestic fiction genre with a suspenseful psychological thriller twist.

Is The Push a scary book?

No. The Push by Ashley Audrain is not scary in the traditional sense of the word. It is a domestic thriller essentially about whether a couple’s child is inherently good or bad and why. While it has suspense and elements of thrillers, it would generally not be considered to be scary like a horror novel.

What happens to Sam in The Push?

In The Push by Ashley Audrain, Sam dies after his stroller rolls into an intersection. The central question, however, is whether his sister, Violet, pushed his stroller there.

Did Violet do it in The Push?

Yes. At the end of The Push by Ashley Audrain, it is strongly implied that Violet pushed Sam into traffic.

Why is The Push so popular?

The Push by Ashley Audrain is popular with readers for many reasons, including that it’s suspenseful, thrilling, and well-written, and it makes broader statements about motherhood that cause the reader to think deeply about the story.

Will there be a sequel to the book The Push by Ashley Audrain?

No. To date, no sequel to The Push has been announced.


Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a popular debut novel and a provocative psychological thriller that shares social commentary and really makes you think about motherhood, including its darkest sides. If you haven’t read it, I (and so many other) readers highly recommend it, and if you have read it, then check out more about Ashley Audrain’s books.

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  1. Good call above on the “Push” title. Also, maybe how mothers birth babies. Great exploration of nature vs nurture. Blythe was such a likeable character–proof that just because your own parents su@k, doesn’t mean you will too. And just because our children may give us reason to hate them, doesn’t mean we will. This book presented mothers as strong, caring women who love their children deeply and can rise above gutteral turmoil when needed. So glad this book ended with our protaganist mom being sane and living life fairly happily alone without needing anyone–men or children in this case.