"Matched": Rage Against the Dying of the Light

BlogHer Original Post

Do you ever think that it would be really awesome if someone told you exactly what to eat and when? And if they delivered it? What about jobs or whom to marry? Imagine if someone removed all the choices from your life and all you had to do is live it. Welcome to world of Ally Condie's Matched.

matched ally condieCassie lives in the not-so-distant future. In her world, the Society chooses everything. They design meals just for you and deliver them (no sharing!). They tell you when you go to school and what to do during your recreation hours. They sort you into jobs. And following your seventeenth birthday, you get invited to the matching ceremony, where you find out whom the Society has decided you should marry.

She has been looking forward to her matching ceremony for as long as she can remember. Cassie gets to wear a beautiful dress, eat wonderful food, and, most importantly, get to see the boy she'll marry. When her name is called, there is an excruciatingly long wait for the boy's image to appear. When it finally does, it is her best friend Xander, whom she's known her whole life. It's highly unusual for her to be matched with someone she already knows. Most matches are between strangers.

Cassie is happy. Really. She knows Xander, and she already cares for him. Yet deep down she feels a twinge of disappointment. There is no excitement of the unknown for her in her matching process. She doesn't get to go through the process of getting to know her match. Attempting to reassure herself, and perhaps convince herself it will all be ok, she goes to read Xander's files and discovers there's be a mistake. The match in her file? It's not Xander. It's Ky.

When his face flashes up on screen, it changes everything. Did the Society make a mistake? Is Ky really her true match? Or is it Xander? If the Society made a mistake about this, what else could they get wrong?

In the midst of Cassie's confusion, she must face the death of her grandfather, who has now reached the age of eighty. In this new world that Cassie lives in, illness has been eradicated. With every factor of their life monitored and provided for, people live long lives. Eighty years has been determined as the optimal length for life, and her grandfather is now facing his death ceremony. During his last moments with Cassie, he shares words with her that she has never heard before. The poems he shares -- the messages in them -- are not any of the approved one hundred poems the Society has deemed appropriate for their world.

The words light a fire in Cassie. She no longer has complete faith in her Society. She no longer believes that officials are always right. Maybe they were wrong about her and Xander. Maybe they are wrong about everything. Maybe she needs to not go so gently into that good night.

Even in a world where choice has been taken away, Cassie finds herself making perhaps the biggest choice of all. Will she do what she has been told is right? Or will she follow her heart?

We'll be discussing Ally Condie's Matched in BlogHer Book Club for the next month. Join the conversation!

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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