Blue Ticket – Sophie MackIntosh


Chosen by Jo

A woman granted a blue ticket and therefore a childless life, takes matters into her own hands.

⫸ “Set in a dystopian future, all women, on the first day of their menstruation, are allocated a future at random: a white ticket grants marriage and children; a blue ticket grants a career and freedom. Women are told this is to relieve them of the terrible burden of choice.

“Calla receives a blue ticket but after questioning her fate, and taking matters into her own hands, she finds herself on the run, with the system and other women pitted against her.

“MackIntosh has placed Calla in a system that deliberately withholds basic information about her body, and then focuses the story on that body and its denied physicality, creating an enquiry into free will, social expectation, and motherhood. Much else in the book is vague; as if in a dreamworld, though the contrasting states often collide with equal measures of violence and tenderness. “

Having a child is both the most rational and irrational decision possible, in this world. This fucking awful, beautiful world, which I can’t stop loving, though I have considered it, I have evaluated and counted the ways.

⫸ “Blue Ticket has a fascinating premise, raising a central theme of free will. It made me wonder which ticket I would hope to get and why. Would I want another life if told I could not have it? The detail around the society, the country and the ruling government was limited and I found this frustrating, I really wanted to understand Calla’s world more. The men in that world had virtually no redeeming features either, and there seemed to be little trust between the women. It was truly a dark patriarchal society and I was captivated from the start. I really enjoyed following Calla’s journey, and the ending was satisfying despite not being a joyous one.” – Jo.

⫸ “Blue Ticket is a dystopian novel but executed in a more subtle way than other alternative realities I have read about. We weren’t drawn into the complexities of the society and so were able to totally focus on the main character, Calla, and her plight, on the run rebelling against her life as a blue ticket. Calla was a highly relatable character who did not want what was being forced upon her, and I’m sure most of us would have wished to rebel too if this was our life. I was totally engaged in the novel and would recommend it.” – Jodie

⫸ “We read Blue Ticket at around the same time the horrific anti-abortion laws in Texas were being put into force so I felt quite uneasy to be reading something fictional where the lives of women were so controlled and the right to procreate (or not) was such an overwhelmingly large part of their existence. I was so invested in the storyline of Blue Ticket and the outcomes for the characters, however at times I just could not shake the feeling like this was like fan-fiction for The Handmaid’s Tale. It must be incredibly hard to approach a genre that has such a revered and well-established classic.” – Suzy

⫸ “Mackintosh’s prose matches her plot. It is often dreamy and spiritual but also brutal and earthy, much like motherhood itself. It drives home Calla’s inability to make her own choices but also the conflict many woman feel over the motherhood-career decisions they have to make. There is a familiarity to the story. Maybe because it deals with fertility in a dystopian setting it reminded me strongly of The Handmaid’s Tale. However it has unique and beautiful prose with an intriguing storyline and satisfying conclusion – I would definitely recommend it.” – Rachel


Published 2020
Doubleday Books
304 pages

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