Yesterday, I binge read The Push by Ashley Audrain. It was a book club title and I have recommitted to my book clubs. I have been lacking enthusiasm and I have decided to just "get on with it." The daughter of one of our members suggested the title and we have purchased a "book club set" for the public library.
Our library offers sets of 10 books to bookclubs and in return, members of both book clubs to which I belong contribute to buying 1 new set of books a year. It's definitely a win-win arrangement.
The Push is a novel about maternal instinct. Is "mothering" innate? Do we learn it from our own childhood experiences? Can a woman who has not been cared for as a child be a loving mother? Why does "mothering" seem to come easily to some women and to elude others?
The protagonist in The Push, feels that her life grows further apart from that of her architect husband who uses his creativity and intellect in the office as she engages in the quotidian tasks of caring for two young children. She is frustrated by her inability to develop her own career.
In The Push, Blythe, the young mother, had been ignored and abandoned by her own mother who had, in turn, been raised by an abusive mother who had suffered psychological trauma. Blythe's daughter, Violet seems to display abusive behaviours at an early age. What role does intergenerational trauma play in families? How does parental projection affect an infant's personality. Since Blythe is the narrator, are her observations reliable?
Every mother's early experiences are different. As a 23 year old, I enjoyed sharing our one bedroom apartment with our baby. I had only worked at dull clerical jobs so I did not mind staying at home and devoting my time to our daughter. My husband was supportive and I was able to continue part-time studies at university. Our daughter settled into the Snugli so walks and errands in our pleasant urban neighbourhood were easy. Had our baby been colicky or my husband self-absorbed, my days would have been different.
While I would probably not have chosen this book, I could not put it down. It is one of those domestic thrillers that will surely be made into a movie and I'm sure that our discussion will be a lively one at our next book club meeting.
As it stands, motherhood is a sort of wilderness through which each woman hacks her way, part martyr, part pioneer; a turn of events from which some women derive feelings of heroism, while others experience a sense of exile from the world they knew. Rachel Cusk
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/rachel-cusk-quotes