This blockbusting debut turbo-charges the fears and insecurities of almost every mother

“Man hands on misery to man. / It deepens like a coastal shelf. / Get out as early as you can, / And don’t have any kids yourself.” Early on in Ashley Audrain’s blockbusting debut about the dark side of motherhood, Philip Larkin’s advice very much does seem to be the verse.

Blythe was abandoned by profoundly unloving, icy Cecilia, who was herself the daughter of abusive, psychotic Etta. The Push opens with Blythe literally on the outside of her own daughter’s life. Her place has been taken by another woman with a happier inheritance, and she is standing on the pavement outside her ex-husband’s new home, gazing at what she must accept as the happy family within.

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