We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We and one of my children just read The Giver for a middleschool homeschool lit class. Every child in the class immediately got the main message and the parallels with current government trends. The good news is that they all hated the book because it scared them. We parents told them to remember that instinct and do everything they can to make sure the government doesn't get that powerful.
I wonder how kids in a public school class react to that book. We live in an ultra liberal 'progressive' area and haven't seen that book on any of the book lists for the local schools.
My 7th grade class in public school and I just finished The Giver. As with your youngsters, they all hated the society in the book. It was interesting to see how many thought, at the outset, that a utopia was possible and how many came to understand that it is only possible if you stifle what makes us human.
Our discussions ranged from euthanasia and "death panels" to abortion to the role of charity vs. the role of government to freedom of speech to democracy itself. One thing is certain - nobody reads that book and fails to take a stand on what he or she believes. That's amazing stuff for 7th graders.
Interestingly enough, one of my seniors who had already read the book with me before was in my room for that class period while I was reading Lois Lowry. It started a whole other round of discussions with the seniors who connected it in some ways to their Dante's "Inferno" lessons. Some of them are using the book for their large analysis paper because it made such an impact on them.
It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read or taught and I am amazed that the schools still let it in the classroom. I'll teach it as long as I am in the profession at the youngest secondary school age possible to get them (and their parents) thinking about this stuff early.
Incidentally, if you want to know what happens to the main character, Jonas, you have to read Messenger. It is the third book in the series (Gathering Blue is in the middle). But neither of the follow-ups packs the wallop contained in the slim little volume of The Giver.
When my brats were young, The Giver was sent home with one of them as a reading assignment. It became a family assignment and we had nightly readings of it for however long it took - 4 or 5 nights? Very good experience for brats as well as Mom and Dad.
Don't know the other book. Can't imagine anyone I know being concerned with, or even the least interested in, that topic.
Regarding Dr. Laura's book, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands," (recommended by me, by the way,) I do suspect that the majority of Maggie's Farm's female readers already have a good, intuitive feel for the content.
Read it anyway. The anecdotes in the book come from men and women from all walks of life.
My most memorable --- There is a story in there about a woman who intentionally fed her husband food items he told her he did not want to eat, just to prove she could do it.