In Matched, the first novel of Ally Condie's dystopian fiction trilogy, we meet Cassia, a run of the mill 17 year old girl on the night of her Matching. In Condie's view of the future, we are faced with the demolished remnants of our society that have been pieced together by a group only known as the Society.
All girls and boys that choose to be married are matched with their most suitable prospect on the 15th of the month and while most are matched with strangers in other districts, Cassia is awestruck when she finds out that she has been matched with her lifelong best friend Xander. It's not until the next day that she realizes that even the Society can make mistakes and begins to question that she has always accepted as good could somehow be fallable.
As we follow Cassia, we begin to see the loss of our civilization even more clearly. There are only 100 songs, movies, books, poems, and paintings left, her father works at destroying old libraries and incinerating all evidence of our existence, each person is only allowed one artifact from the past - Cassia's is a compact from her great grandmother. All of the important choices of life are left up to the Society, where and what department you will work in, who you will love, how many children you will have and at age you will have them, all meals are delivered to your home at specified mealtimes and are more nutritionally based than allowing for flavor or extravagance.
Each member of the community holds 3 pills to use in case of emergency situations and while everyone knows that the blue pill will keep you satiated with just a small amount of water and that the green pill will calm you down, no one is quite certain what the red pill will do to you and all have been directed to take it only when a Society official commands you to.
I can imagine that life could be a lot easier without all of the distractions of the internet and television, where your leisure time, meals, and entertainment choices are limited to the bare minimum, where your day-to-day life is predictable and has been predicted by the Society, but at what loss? That our children never know the joy of hiking through the forest or learning a bit of poetry?
The Utopian/Dystopian future of the Society could never be as happy as it seems. I can't wait to read the rest of this trilogy to learn more about the path that Cassia will follow.
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