Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be reviewing a book called Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh today. Sophie Mackintosh is the author of The Water Cure and Blue Ticket is a new novel that she had published in June. Before we get into the review, I would like to thank Times.Read for sending this novel to me in exchange for a review. Without further ado, let us dive right into the book review section!
Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back.
But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?
Blue Ticket is a devastating enquiry into free will and the fraught space of motherhood. Bold and chilling, it pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies.
“My husband found out. He didn’t believe it was an accident. He was disgusted with me. But it wasn’t his body.” – Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh.
So, I was expecting to savour this novel like I savour the taste of Mcdonald’s French Fries but alas, I did not. I was severely disappointed in the content of the novel that the author had handed to me because I can recognise so much potential in the idea and the world the author was trying to create but somehow, both of them managed to get lost in the pages of the novel.
If you enjoy a dystopian world without any world-building or history as to why the system works the way it did, this might be the book for you but it definitely isn’t the book for me. There are only a couple of information thrown around in the novel that could give me a grasp on the system of the world and those are:
(1) There is a lottery that dictates women’s entire life. You may get a Blue-Ticket which signifies freedom BUT you are not to get pregnant. You may get a White-Ticket and your only purpose is to give birth? I think? It is not very clear on that end.
(2) If you get pregnant as a Blue-Ticket, you are instantly an exile and your fellow Blue-Tickets will hate on you and try to murder you?
(3) Men hate getting Blue-Ticket women pregnant and will not hold any responsibility for that matter?
(4) White-Ticket women hate Blue-Ticket women who have gotten themselves pregnant.
(5) If you have done good in the community, the emissaries will give you a head start – 12 hours – to run away and hide before they come to find you.
(6) Oh, I almost forgot, when you get your first bleed, you are required to go to the town you have in mind without any help from the adults. So, yeah that is basically it. Those question marks gave nods to my very confused brain.
“I told him instead that I’d had agency over the things I had done all through my life, even if not over everything that had been done to me. I told him I was not a branch being broken in a stream, carried along by the water until it snapped. I told him he should give my baby back to me.” – Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh.
We follow Calla’s perspective throughout the novel and I thought the beginning was interesting because it shows the desperation of Calla trying to shed her childhood by taking lots of milk and peanut butter to get her first bleed. It was as if she is trying to get away from her father but at the same time, not trying to get away from her father because the first page of the novel shows how much her father loves her. It is very confusing and I don’t know how to feel. Then, in her adult life, she drinks a lot, smokes a lot and starts developing this ‘dark feeling’ which is to have her own baby and family. She proceeds to use this dude, who is an asshole to say the least, to get the baby. She then turns into a fugitive and she is on the run from the emissaries. I thought everything was interesting up until I reached the section where she decides to settle in the cabin. That section manages to slow everything down. Almost nothing happens most of the time during her stay in the cabin and that made me want to rip my eyeballs out.
This novel should have gotten multiple perspectives to give a wider view on the world. For example, a perspective from a White-Ticket woman, a perspective from the emissary and a perspective from a man in a high position. This would have provided an insight on the world and also, enhance our perception on how brain-washed everyone is. I thought it was not particularly right to limit the perspective to Calla alone because she is not that interesting of a character and her motives are confusing and most of the time, I do not understand why she did what she did. In addition, there isn’t any character development in the novel which further proves the point of getting more POVs.
The author has a readable writing style that will make you read the novel compulsively as you have the urge to know what is coming next. Other than that, the writing style is also very beautiful which will make you crave for more of it but unfortunately, the story isn’t very good and I wish there is a better ending for this novel because I did not like that ending because the ending makes it seem like Calla would conveniently give up stuff instead of fighting for it and also, it makes it seem like the book is pointless.
Ultimately, I understand the message the author is trying to convey. She wants us to perceive the misogyny in the world where women have no control over their freedom, their body and their choice and how extremely infuriating it is. This dystopian world that she has created intersects with the real world albeit the weak world-building. Several quotes in this novel perfectly showcase the real world and it is so frustrating to see how we are living in 2020 and yet, misogyny is still a thing. Thus, I thought the message was delivered well.
Final Verdict: 50% (D)
This is the end of my review for Blue Ticket By Sophie Mackintosh! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!