The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the moment that I heard about this book, I knew that I had to read it. I’m fascinated by the Neanderthals so a fiction story built around them sounded perfect for me! And it was so good. I was worried it would be too focused on the science part of the story but it has such a great balance. The story centers around two women – one who is a member of the last Neanderthal family 40,000 years ago and one who is an archaeologist who is working to excavate new Neanderthal artifacts. The stories of these women just captivated me. The way that Claire Cameron creates the world of the Neanderthal – the detailed aspects of their lives, although mostly fiction, was so well done and captivating to me. I enjoyed seeing what Clair Cameron imagined life to be for these Neanderthals and how they made their way through life.
One of the things that I think stands out most to me is the characterization of motherhood from both women’s perspectives. The experience, the sacrifices, the challenges. I found these views into motherhood to be very realistic and raw. Unflinchingly honest, frank. Motherhood is in no way easy but many novels suggest that it’s all love and rainbows. I really appreciated the realistic perspective that this novel gives to motherhood and it’s overwhelming love and fear.
All in all, I found this to be a very moving novel that gave me a new perspective on humanity and how it changes (and doesn’t) over time. It’s a very interesting look at two very different yet closely connected women. I loved the interesting view into the lives of the Neanderthal population. Overall, this is a fantastic novel that I definitely recommend due to it being very unique and thought provoking. It’s a moving novel that I suspect will stick with me for some time.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with the ARC for an honest review!