Sunrise was at 5:42, sunset will be 8:49. 9000 steps yesterday-just couldn't make myself walk the next thousand. It's overcast and in the 50's! It will get up to the 80's, they say, and I will have to water the plants again.
Matched, by Allie Condie was one of the first books in a long time where I thought, ooh, this is GOOD. Teachers are going to like this! For a dystopian novel, it was different. It had tinges of other books like Fahrenheit 451 and The Giver, but still different.
Cassia is almost ready to be Matched. All teenagers at the age of 17 are matched by the society they live in to another, to be with for the rest of their lives. Cassia has been friends with Xander for years and when her name is called and his picture comes up on the screen, she is quietly thrilled. No one else she knows has been matched with someone they already know, who lives in the same town. Almost everyone goes away after the matching.
She is already beginning to think about their future, how comfortable and familiar it will be, when a different photograph flashes over Xander's: Ky Markham's face comes and goes in an instant, and in that very moment a whole different world, full of doubt and uncertainty, excitement and mystery, begins to roll out like a ribbon before her.
The Society says it was only a glitch, go on and plan your life with Xander, nothing to see hear, folks, except that The Society doesn't make mistakes.
Ooh, it is really good! In this look at the future, The Society has discovered that being presented with a lot of choices is not good for the populace. In this time, there are 5 songs, 5 books, 5 poems, 5 pieces of art, few things that will allow one to think about or yearn for, all sanctioned by The Society; everything else is banned. People are matched to jobs, spouses, locations. Also in this time, people are only allowed to live to the age of 70 where they are given a celebration of life and then euthanized. Few people question this, but the changes in the world are relatively new, only 3 or 4 generations along, and so far, so good.
When Cassia's grandfather approaches his "celebration", he gives her a memento, everyone is allowed a few personal items that no one else has, and in it she finds a scrap of paper with a few words on it, a poem she has never seen or heard before, that begins "Do not go gentle into that good night". These words shake her to the core-her grandfather was healthy and intelligent, there was no need for him to die, it is just more efficient for The Society to place a limit on the resources the elderly consume.
This one poem is the beginning of Cassia's questioning of The Society. As she finds more and more information about the past, in an underground society that has only snippets of banned articles, The Society starts to watch her, instituting new rules and laws that affect everyone. As the restrictions get tighter, Cassia feels freer and freer-obviously there is much The Society has to hide.
This is a really good addition to the dystopian fiction out there. Ages 13 and up. (Dutton Books, November 30, 2010. Hardcover. $17.99.)