Saturday, February 19, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

As is the custom in the Society, Cassia goes to be Matched at seventeen -- to by video screen the man she will marry at 21. She's thrilled by the event -- then shocked and thrilled to be Matched with her childhood friend. Being Matched with someone you know is nearly unheard of. So are mistakes, in the Society, but it seems one has been made.

Though reminiscent of a slew of great stories (Feed, Uglies, Hunger Games), Condie expresses nifty dystopian ideas quite well:

The almost-snow reminds me of a line from a poem we studied this year in Language and Literacy: "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening." It is one of my favorites of all the Hundred Poems, the ones our Society chose to keep, back when they decided our culture was too cluttered. They created commissions to chose the hundred best of everything: Hundred Songs, Hundred Paintings, Hundred Stories, Hundred Poems. The rest were eliminated. Gone forever. For the best, the Society said, and everyone believed it because it made sense. How can we appreciate anything fully when overwhelmed with too much? (p. 29)

Or when another character tells Cassie about the myth of Sisyphus:

"I don't know if he's real," Ky says. "If he ever existed."

"Then why tell his story?" I don't understand, and for a second I feel betrayed. Why did Ky tell me about this person and make me feel empathy for him when there's no proof that he ever lived at all?"

Ky pauses for a moment before he answers . . . ."Even if he didn't live his story, enough of us have lived lives just like it. So it's true anyway."
A thoughtful and gentle introduction to dystopias.

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