Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Blue Ticket by Sophie MacKintosh

Blue Ticket
by Sophie MacKintosh
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review

Publisher's Summary:
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 marriage and children. A blue ticket grants you a career and 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? 

When Calla, a blue ticket woman, begins to question her fate, she must go on the run. But her survival will be dependent on the very qualities the lottery has taught her to question in herself and on the other women the system has pitted against her. Pregnant and desperate, Calla must contend with whether or not the lottery knows her better than she knows herself and what that might mean for her child.

An urgent inquiry into free will, social expectation, and the fraught space of motherhood, Blue Ticket is electrifying in its raw evocation of desire and riveting in its undeniable familiarity.

My Thoughts: 
About a year ago, I read Mackintosh's debut, The Water Cure, and was impressed enough with her storytelling and writing to grab this one up as soon as it became available. 

As with that debut, Mackintosh drops readers straight into a dystopian world where women are once again the target of manipulation while being made to believe that what's being done is for their benefit. Once again, Mackintosh raises a lot of questions - why was the lottery instituted, why are the blue ticket girls sent off to make their own way to the city with almost no assistance and no transportation, how does the machine determine who should get white tickets and who should get blue, and, if this is such a great plan, why do the blue ticket women require regular visits with a doctor? 

As with The Water Cure, Mackintosh left a lot of my questions unanswered; but this time, knowing that she had done that in her previous book, I was surprised by it and it didn't bother me so much. I did get enough answers to make the story feel whole and to understand the choices that Calla made and why she spent so much of the book feeling so angry and questioning her own motives. 

There were some plot pieces I felt might have been left out, although they certainly underscored the risk that Calla was taking and the fear underlying her choice. A lot of time is spent in Calla's head which is often filled with quite violent thoughts. That might have been toned down but as the book developed I did begin to understand why she might feel that way. 

There is certainly an strong sense of The Handmaid's Tale here but Mackintosh takes that and makes it her own. It's a short book and a fast read, thanks it part to it's somewhat unique style and because Calla's journey is so compelling. Mackintosh has certainly found her niche and I look forward to reading more of her work. 


  1. Sounds so Atwood. I am drawn to this story.

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