Do you think Girl became part of the family of the Woman and Boy she meets?
I do think Girl becomes part of the family of Woman and Boy. I think that is how Girl’s family survives.
So… whose remains do you believe Rose and her team have found at the dig site?
Well, they could be entirely unrelated to the story…but I believe it is Girl and Runt. The question that remains for me is … what is their relationship? I think it is obvious they are placed that way because they share love, but I’m not sure what kind of love. The placement could indicate only a ‘family’ relationship and the love they share as siblings. But it’s also possible that as boy matured into an adult, they became a couple, had children, and her Neanderthal genes were passed on to the other species, and thus, her family survived…and survives.
Girl decided to kill both her baby and Wildcat. Did she have any other choices?
Well, I guess there is always a choice, but it would not have been a wise choice. I think it is pretty certain that had Girl not killed Wildcat, she would not have survived. First, meager though it was, the meat from Wildcat allowed Girl to survive just a bit longer and that may have been the crucial difference between living until the spring thaw or perishing from starvation.
But I think more important, had Girl not killed Wildcat while she still had strength, Wildcat most likely would have killed and eaten her!
I was sad to see Girl kill her baby, but I understood. The baby was not eating and would not have survived long, and was robbing Girl of her strength. I also think the baby was suffering and Girl could not sit and watch the baby suffer until it died. A sad choice, but probably the right one for that time.
What outcomes could she have faced had she not made these difficult decisions?
See the above answer.
I have heard this novel described as a “strong work of feminist literature”. Did it strike you as such as you were reading?
It really didn’t. I do think Girl was a strong woman, as was Big Mother, but id didn’t strike me as feminist literature.
If Caitlin had not arrived when she did, do you believe Rose could have harmed Jacob?
I definitely think Rose could have hurt Jacob. She was not thinking straight. I’m not sure she WOULD have. I’d like to think she’d have realized what was happening before it was too late!
I do wonder about Caitlin and what she meant what she said she lost her baby when she was alone. Did she harm her baby the same way Rose was about to, or did she simply have no help and support system to help when the baby was weak or ill?
Have the parallels between Rose and Girl become stronger by the end of the story?
In some ways they have. Both women had to make choices about the survival of their babies.
Overall, how did you find this novel? What was your favourite part? Would you recommend this book to others?
I really enjoyed this one a lot. I don’t know if I had a favorite part — I just enjoyed the entire experience. I’m not sure who I’d recommend this book to ; probably other bloggers I interact with. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to my book club, as most of them prefer light, happy reads. So I’m glad I have this group to discuss these types of books!
Do you have any additional questions about the novel, or thoughts you would like to share in our discussion?
Well, I would like to know what happens with Rose and Simon. Does she resume her career and lead the almost separate life from Simon she has been living. How does Jacob fit in?
And a thought I had… If we share … was it 97%…of our genes with Neanderthals…how do we know that it is not the Neanderthal that survived? Maybe 97% came from the Neanderthal and the extra 3% is from the Homo sapiens…wouldn’t that make the Neanderthal the survivors? Just asking…