You know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what I did this time around. Ally Condie’s novel, Matched, stood out like a diamond among ricks and I doubt you can blame me. I mean have you seen the art for the book? It’s friggin’ gorgeous! And I can’t necessarily say I was dissing with the contents either.
Living in what they believe is the ideal Utopia, Cassia and all the individuals residing in the Society trust in the decisions made by the Officials. Who they love, where they work, and when they die has been figured out for all of them. And, to them, it’s no price to pay for a long life, perfect job, and ideal mate.
When her best friend, Xander, appears on the Matching screen before, Cassia is certain he’s the one for her… until another face, an Aberration named Ky, flashes on the screen before fading to black. Cassia is now faced with impossible choices: between the only life she’s known and a path no one has ever dared to follow.
Having read The Giver back in high school, so my thoughts kept fluttering back to it while reading Matched. They’re only similar to a point, but they really make you think. Living in their false utopia has every one in the Society believing their way of life is the right and only way. When Cassia decides to think for herself and her future, the Officials do all they can to dissuade and stop her.
The only con I had for this is the way Matched ended… Funny enough, I read Condie’s book thinking it was a stand alone novel. It was my mistake, but when I got to the end, I felt the Same way I had when I finished The Giver. I questioned, “Is that all?” For both novels, I thought the ending of escaping the a fauxtopia had been left open for interpretation. Though it turns out I was kind of wrong, the final scenes are appropriate, though abrupt. Cassia gets herself sent to work in the fields, farming food for the Society. She swears to find Kai and save him. And that’s it. It was almost whimsical and left me wishing Cassia good luck and wondering why she hadn’t gone a different route. Perhaps if I’d done some research, I’d have learned this is actually the first in a trilogy. Silly me.
On pros I liked about Condie’s work is how the Society and its perfection can truly be considered a utopia. It’s a known fact people favor order and routine strict lives. The simpler the better. Condie took that into consideration when writing. It sounds absurd taking away the free will of humans, but to not having to deal with the “hassle” of finding a job, dating, and worrying about death, it all seems like no big deal. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of Society? It’s probably not as wonderful as some may thing, but you get my point.
As you read, you’ll find yourself thinking the Society isn’t so bad… And then Cassia experiencing real choices she’s made on her own for own for the first time ever. You want to break the rules and defy Society with her. Condie manages a great job of making a beautiful lie for Cassia as she comes to terms with reality and the truth of the world she lives in.
In case you haven’t already, give this beautiful book a chance and share your thoughts, comments, and ideas on it with me.