Monday, July 11, 2011
Matched by Ally Condie
I jumped on the bandwagon and went right out and bought it at B&N the week of its release. And here's what I learned:
I learned that I really adore the use of poetry in fiction. Condie used the Dylan Thomas’ classic poem, “Do Not Go Gentle," as a source of insight and inspiration for the protag Cassia. In a world where poetry is essentially banned, this secret poem she holds hidden, creates a powerful strength to her. And for the reader, a clever theme that keeps us connected to the protag's struggle for freedom.
I learned about tone. Every book has a tone: light and fluffy, deep and literary, comic and snarky, etc. This book's tone is sinister and creepy to me. Condie created a seemingly "perfect" world, where everyone is given exactly what is needed. No extreme luxuries, no extreme pain. A society where the officials "take care" of everyone, which is code for "controlling" everyone. Underneath the happy first scenes where Cassia learns of her new life and being "matched" with her best friend, there is an unsettling feeling that its not true happiness. A feeling of sadness and concern that anyone would have the power to control another's whole life.
I learned that questioning big ideas is a great tool to get the reader involved and invested in the story. In this case: how much control should the government have? How much freedom should the general population have? Can there ever be a "perfect" balance of the two? Though this is a dystopian, an unfamiliar world that we discover as we go, so much feels familiar. Our society grapples with these big ideas every day, and will continue to do so. This book feels like a love story for most of the time, which I love, but it also feels like a philosophical treatise. Its a fun read..but a deep read too. And I really like that.
Condie's second book in her trilogy, CROSSED, will be released November 2011. I can't wait.