Reading guide for The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron

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The Last Neanderthal

by Claire Cameron

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron X
The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2017, 288 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2018, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

1) What did you know about Neanderthals before reading the novel? Did the novel change your perception of Neanderthals?

2) Big Mother upholds certain taboos about sex. Why do you think she chooses to expel Girl? How clearly does she see this decision and its consequences?

3) The Neanderthals in the novel lived in a tight family group, whereas Rose lives far away from her family and friends. Do you choose to live close by, or farther away from, your social network? How does this affect your life decisions?

4) Girl and Runt form a special bond. How does their relationship alter over the course of the novel? What changes it the most?

5) Where do you think Runt came from when the family found him? What is different about him?

6) Runt sees marks on a tree that meant something different to him than they do to Girl. Why does he run when the storm is coming? Where do you think he goes?

7) Rose, the archaeologist, and Simon get into a big fight in Ikea. Why does a big box store provoke them? Is this kind of tension in a relationship common or unusual? Could you relate to their predicament?

8) Motherhood connects the stories of Girl and Rose, but because they live 40,000 years apart they have considerably different experiences. Still, there are some similarities. What are they and what did you think about them?

9) Whose story did you relate to more, Girl's or Rose's? Which one is closer to you in real life?

10) The novel ends with a photo of the artifact Rose found, the skeleton of a Neanderthal and a modern human lying together. Who do you think these two skeletons belong to?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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Beyond the Book:
  Homo Neanderthalensis

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