My best-friend is a conspiracy theorist. He is convinced that “Big Brother” faked the lunar landing, he (more often than not) cringes when seeing light post cameras, and 9-11? Don’t even get me started. I love him, as I said… he is my best friend, but this little issue of his drives me crazy. When I first started reading “Matched” by Ally Condie, D. is the first person I thought of.
Cassia is a rule follower. Do not yell. Check. Do not venture outside of your designated area. Check, check. Raised in a society that monitors everything from the trees grown in her front yard to the amount of sugar in her tea, she has never known the emotions involved with making her own decisions. That is (of course) until a “computer glitch” lands right in her unsuspecting lap. The day following Cassia’s match ceremony things suddenly start to go awry. Her grandfather smuggles her forbidden poetry, her father looses a priceless piece of their family’s future, and more importantly Cassia starts to focus on the “Society’s” little mistake more than she should. Is the world she has grown up in really the best there is? Why does she suddenly feel like her life is out of her hands when only a month earlier she was perfectly complacent? And… will her need for self-satisfaction break her heart, or make it stronger?
There are 2 very different things going on in “Matched” that need to be addressed. Yes, they intertwine to create a larger, more complex tale, but as a reader I feel it is important to understand clearly the roll each played in the completed story’s fabrication.
First is the world in which Cassia lives. Unlike the rest of us, Cassia is forced to live a life of mediated structure. Everything in her life (from who she will marry to the age in which she will die) is manufactured for her by her own special brand of government, and any deviation from that plan is considered traitorous.
The second is Cassia’s actual “story” (as in.. this is what she does, and this is how she does it) The dystopian surrounding that Condie plopped her characters down in to could have very easily been the whole she-bang, but instead we are offered a story of experience. We get to experience that first sense of freedom. We get to experience the butterflies of a girl stuck somewhere between her head and her heart, and in the end we get to ride the mother of all roller-coasters specializing in human emotion, (why me, why now, why this?)
Combing these two very differnt elements is what really made “Matched” shine. So here’s to you Ms. Condie, a very hearty high-five for the woman smart enough to combine the “traditional” with the “unconventional.”
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: No one is ever truly alone, there’s always someone around the corner, or up the stairs, and the last time I checked they sold spy gear at Target.
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