Friday, January 14, 2011

A Review of 'Matched' by Ally Condie

In The Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly an price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and story-telling with the resonance of a classic.

I was in Barnes and Nobel a couple weekends ago and you could say that this was my impulse buy. I wanted to wait until I had read it through the library, but it was right there on the shelf and I just had to.

Almost immediately after I head that this was a dystopian novel, I though of ‘The Giver.’ Classic dystopian example. That was my expectation going in.

What I discovered as I read further into the book was that it wasn’t entirely like ‘The Giver.’ It was a more relaxed version of the novel. ‘Matched’ had formal dating, hand-holding, feelings… The Society is like ours, but with more structure, rules, and regulations.

I found quite a few interesting things in this book. The first one is how death is handled. Within the first few chapters, Cassia’s Grandfather dies. The part that is so fascinating about this is everyone dies on their 80th birthday (I won’t say how, because that’s a major spoiler, but they die at this point in time to avoid diseases that occur in the chronologically gifted… I definitely just quoted one of the guest directors of the band ensemble that I’m in). There’s also a sort of ceremony that goes with dying. Your family brings you presents, you get to speak to everyone individually, you have your final meal… if you’re lucky, you get the chance to preserve a part of yourself with the possibility of being revived later. Your family stays with you the whole day. Death is like a big show.

Another thing that I found interesting was that no one is brave enough to fight back. The people in The Society are afraid of being labeled as Aberrations or worse, Anomalies. They are afraid of getting infractions or citations… the various punishments that are hovered in front of their noses so they never forget what could happen. This seems typical of dystopian novels, but it always gets to me when I see that people can really become that afraid.

What was a little sad for me to read was as Cassia became more involved with Ky, Xander, her match, sort of faded into the background and he only appeared again when Cassia needed him for something or to stage a ray of hope that maybe, just maybe, Xander actually stands a chance. He doesn’t deserve that. He seems like a good guy.

Overall, this was an excellent read. I give ‘Matched’:

Thanks for reading!



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  2. I so LOVED Matched as well! I love your analysis of the society!


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