In 2012, Rosemary’s agent calls to say that she has received requests for interviews with the nation’s most famous presenters, such as Charlie Rose and John Stewart. She asks that Rosemary move up the publication date of the book. It is only at this point that Rosemary learns that Lowell has finally been arrested while planning an attack on SeaWorld in Orlando. A “female accomplice” escaped arrest. Rosemary admits that the book she wrote with her mother was “for Fern,” but that the book in the reader’s hands now is “for Lowell.” She is not going to argue that Lowell is innocent, as it is possible that Lowell intended to inflict major damage with the attack. At the same time, the ALF is against hurting any animals––human or nonhuman.
Here Rosemary returns to speaking about the novel in a metafictional manner, explaining that the book the reader is holding is the narrative she constructed in order to explain her version of the past to Lowell. Between the two books Rosemary has written and Lowell’s arrest, her time out of the spotlight is well and truly over. Yet, just as Lowell has sacrificed his entire life in order to help the victims of animal abuse, Rosemary sacrifices her privacy in order to contribute to a better understanding of the relationships between animals and humans.
Rosemary wishes Lowell was caught earlier, before he accrued so many charges. As of now, he has been in custody for three months and is in a bad mental state. Rosemary knows that he is attempting to be tried as a nonhuman animal, and she has been trying to persuade Todd’s mother to represent him. Just like Fern, Lowell has fundamentally good qualities, but has become dangerous as he’s grown older.
Lowell’s reaction to the traumas of his past and the unbearable ways in which humans treat animals have pushed him into an extreme direction. Rather than attempt to live in human society and maintain a close connection to animals (as Rosemary has done), he sees no other choice but to become a nonhuman animal.
Rosemary decides to end the story by telling the reader what happened when she saw Fern for the first time again. Rosemary’s mother had already been visiting Fern for two weeks, and Rosemary waited in order to give Fern time to adjust. In advance of her visit, Rosemary sends Fern an old stuffed penguin, a sweater she hopes smells of her, and a red poker chip that they would use when they played “Same/Not Same.” She brings a second poker chip when she arrives.
This passage emphasizes the extent to which Fern is ultimately unknowable to Rosemary. Despite their absolute closeness as children, Rosemary has no idea how Fern thinks or if she is capable of remembering her. In this sense, Rosemary and Fern’s relationship continues to be a kind of scientific experiment, although one completed on their own terms.
Rosemary walks behind the glass wall, waits for Fern to make eye contact, and then signs her own name as well as Fern’s. Rosemary places her palm on the glass, and Fern does the same. Fern presses her forehead against the glass, and so does Rosemary. They stare into each other’s eyes for a long time. Rosemary realizes that she doesn’t know what Fern is thinking, but is still overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity. It is like looking in a mirror.
The moving final passage of the novel contains a kind of thesis statement on the nature of the animal-human divide. The gap between species is ultimately unbridgeable, and because of this Fern will always be something of a mystery to Rosemary. However, despite this gap it is possible to build a powerful sense of affinity with animals, and to recognize that they are indeed our relations.