Author: Sophie Mackintosh
Published: June 30, 2020
Thank you so much to Doubleday Books for providing an ARC of Sophie Mackintosh’s Blue Ticket in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss.
You’re a girl, you just had your first period. Instead of partaking into a ritual like in most cultures, you participate in a lottery that will forever change the course of your life. A blue ticket will prevent you from getting pregnant; a white ticket will make you pregnant. Once you’ve picked, it will never be undone. Calla picks a blue ticket and she enjoys her freedom but after a few years, she finds herself longing for a child, to feel motherhood. She becomes illegally pregnant and the authorities run after her. With a growing child inside her, she must survive and find safety for her and her baby.
I thought this would take the usual YA dystopian novels: A bold woman as our protagonist rallying to bring revolution and unity against authorities that try to force their differences to separate them. I was wrong. We don’t focus well on the authority or how this rule came to be or what this ‘country’ is. We focus on our protagonist that is far from a revolutionary woman. She drinks, she sleeps with men and women she meets, she’s mentally unstable.
I disliked Calla. She made irrational choices, she was suicidal, she was reckless, she was dumb. She was far from a bold revolutionary woman. She was selfish. But through her journey, I saw how the perspectives and stories the women in the novel reflect our society. Why are we forced to do something we don’t like? Over the centuries, women are seen as baby makers and the custodians of the household. Society automatically assumes that girls are bound to ripen and produce fruits. No one ever stops to ask, do you want to be a mother? Do you want to carry a child? Do you want to have such a connection with a human being?
Calla is far from a motherhood figure. Even if she was pregnant she ate forbidden food, she drank, she smoked, she dallied with unknown men and women. She never imagined she would become pregnant–make herself pregnant and become a fugitive. All throughout the novel, the doctor pressed her that her label–a blue ticket woman–is meant for her. That she is bound to be like that and nothing else. No one asked what she wanted because she’s already labeled like meat, as though her whole existence is meant for that. As though that makes her whole essence.
Mackintosh’s Blue Ticket is not what it seems. It doesn’t make you like the characters; it doesn’t make you trust the characters. It doesn’t make you root for them. They leave you frustrated and exhausted but it boggles the mind. It begs you to read beneath the lines. It makes you reflect society not only in regards with pregnancy, motherhood and overpopulation, but how we treat those different from us. The labels society sticks to us, the assumptions society associates us with that we, for some reason, accept without question.
I’m still young, a young adult if you will. Pregnancy has never crossed my mind yet, I’m far too occupied of other things. I’m curious though of what the reaction mothers would read to this novel. I’m curious about their perspective. It’s a fascinating novel and definitely recommended. It’s one of those novels that will leave you thinking in the dark for days.
I told him that some things couldn’t be seen in a person, that mistakes could be made, that there was no quantifying what made a true mother.Calla to Doctor A
“I thought I deserved the chance.”Marisol