The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, #1)
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The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  144,683 ratings  ·  3,894 reviews
This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natur...more
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Bantam (first published 1980)
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Best Historical Fiction
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Community Reviews

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The thing that strikes me most about her work is that every time there's a new discovery about how paleolithic people lived, it goes along with her stories. Things they said were silly back when she wrote it (Neanderthals with instruments, Neanderthals living with homo sapiens sapiens, and the like) keep proving true.

She presents interesting ideas of cognition, culture and how societies develop. The first two books are her best I think. The rest remain interesting if you can deal with the const...more
Mar 25, 2014 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of fiction set in prehistoric times; fans of strong heroines
Note, March 25, 2014: I edited this review slightly just now, to delete one accidental dittography. Hmmm, I thought I'd proofread this.... :-)

Auel's Earth's Children series (this opening volume was followed by, so far, four sequels) garners mixed --and mostly negative-- reviews here on Goodreads. Though none of them have reviewed it, a dozen of my Goodreads friends have given it ratings, ranging from one star to five. Obviously, my own reaction falls at the favorable end of the spectrum.

Ayla, of...more
Holmes! Holmes
Aug 16, 2007 Holmes! Holmes rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: shallow spiritualists harboring secret fantasies of miscegnation
I *really* wanted to dig this book. I have a burgeoning obsession with prehistory, evolution, and the antecedents of man, and a tale of Cro Magnons and Neanderthals is exactly what I'd love to read.

Sadly, this book does not contain that tale.

Instead, it's a goopy mess of inane metaphysics, prurience for prurience's sake, and a none-too-subtle dollop of racism, as the blonde-haired and light-skinned heroine shows the more primitive (and darker-skinned) Neanderthals how to do--well, just about eve...more
Jan 08, 2012 Renee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: topshelf
This book and the series that follows is endearing, troublesome, and whole-heartedly compassionate. This is the book my grandmother read to me as a little girl during the middle of a tornado, while we waited out the storm by candlelight. This is the book that started me reading... really reading.
I learned that I can love my quiet time, and apparently I love stories on the ancient human race... our beginnings. The ways of survival, ways of development, natural medicine, culture and anthropology....more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 16, 2010 Kayleigh rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kayleigh by: Read it for my Bio-Anth class
A disappointment. The concept is interesting, especially in light of recent archaeological evidence suggesting that Neandertals and Cro-Magnons (anatomically modern humans) may have interbred. However, the execution is extremely poor. The pacing is uneven, the prose is so flowery it hurts, and the characters are flat. Some other things that bothered me:
--The author has the tendency to "info-dump", frequently disrupting the flow of the story to deliver lengthy descriptions of plants, rocks, char...more
Ms Auel, there are some things I’d like to talk to you about. Be warned I’m quite angry because I keep reading your books for some bizarre reason and I cringe and tear my hair out in despair. See, you had a good story there – a little Cro-Magnon orphan girl found and raised by Neanderthals. I didn’t even care she turned out to be the smartest, most beautiful, ingenious little thing and the villain in the story was almost grotesque and cartoonish in his evildoing. I knew no real harm would ever c...more
Doc Opp
This was a fantastic book. I read it in 7th grade, and was absolutely obsessed with it (which is nothing less than stunning, because at that age most books that lacked dragons weren't worth my time...). In a way its perfect for around that age, because its all about struggling for acceptance and trying to learn the social norms of a society. But really, everybody has dealt with those issues, and will be able to empathize with the characters. And the setting is so unique, the writing so vibrant,...more
I loved this book when I was a teen. Indirectly, it lead to my pursuit of a BA in Anthropology. Perhaps it is that Anthropology degree that has rendered the book unreadable for me 25 years later.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
TRUE STORY: reading Clan of the Cave Bear to augment one's understanding of the Upper Paleolithic era is like reading Playboy for the articles. . . .
Crystal Starr Light
"[Ayla] was a woman, and she had more courage than you...more determination, more self-control"

Ayla is a five year old child when an earthquake forces her to flee her destroyed home and her dead parents. Iza, the medicine woman of the Clan of the Cave Bear, stumbles upon her and takes her under her wing, but Broud, the proud son of the clan leader, Brun, takes an immediate disliking to the young non-Clan girl. Ayla grows up among the clan and struggles to find her place.

I've heard so much about...more
Feb 24, 2011 Isis rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical fiction or character drama
Recommended to Isis by: No one
Frankly, Auel gets points simply for tackling this period, as I have not found any other books set around this era. Very little is known about human culture in this period apart from a basic overview, let alone Neanderthal culture. Particularly aspirations, values, and spiritual belief systems are the hardest to deduce from the material archaeological record. Auel avoids the problem of getting into the complex details of culture by making the novel more about character relationships than an exot...more
Tim "The Enchanter"
My #7 Favorite read of 2013

A Unique and Entrancing 5 Stars

When I am rating a book, I am internally comparing that book to other similar books in the genre and asking myself if it is on par with the best I have read. For me, when it comes to rating what I deem to be Historical Fiction, 5 stars are a rarity. It is my favorite genre and there is always a masterpiece to which it can be compared. That said, The Clan of the Cave Bear has no peers. For me, this story explores a time that I have...more
Joe Valdez
Mar 11, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of mammoths, lovers of mammoth novels, lovers with mammoth attention spans
I came to The Clan of the Cave Bear at the Mission Viejo Library when the novel I'd wanted next -- The Witching Hour by Anne Rice -- was out. Wandering the hardcover fiction, a row of books at eye level with thick, colorful spines and the same author snared my attention. Published in 1980, this bestseller launched five sequels, a maligned film adaptation in 1986 and became an industry onto Jean M. Auel, whose published fiction has been dedicated solely to this Ice Age series.

Set in the late Plei...more
Lisa Vegan
May 13, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy historical fiction, especially those intrigued by pre/early humans & evolution
This is a great novel; it’s a real masterpiece. I love the whole series but I think this is by far the best book in it, and it stands on its own although I became completely hooked and I’ve eagerly awaited every new book in the series, and I really hope Auel finishes this series! I really admire these epic books. I appreciate stories that are historical fiction or fantasy where a complex society and intricate details about the lives of the inhabitants are described. I feel that I learned so much...more
Sep 23, 2013 Tania rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tania by: Sonja
She was one of the Others; a newer, younger breed, more vital, more dynamic, not controlled by hidebound traditions from a brain that was nearly all memory. Her brain followed different paths, her full, high forehead that housed forward-thinking frontal lobes gave her an understanding from a different point of view. She could accept the new, shape it to her will, forge it into ideas undreamed of by the Clan, and, in nature's way, her kind was destined to supplant the ancient, dying race.

This boo...more
I really liked this book so much that I even acquired a copy, however, after reading it the first time, I felt deceived. Seeing as 120 people shelved this as "romance", I started it and expected you know, a love story. I assumed Broud would be her love interest since he was a main character and guessed he and Ayla would have an enemies-to-lovers plot line or something. He treated her really badly (understatement) but I let it go because I assumed he'd have to beg for her forgiveness (hero-grovel...more
I love these books and have read some in the Earth's Children series many times because I love the detailed descriptions of their way of life. I actually started reading them in the 4th or 5th grade. I loved reading about how they hunted, gathered and stored their food, made clothing and jewelry, and the contrasts between the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon in those aspects. I also loved that Ayla was an innovative and strong woman, and I enjoyed learning about botany and medicinal uses for plants as...more
Christina White
This story was great! As I was reading I totally lost my self in the story. The descriptions and well researched information took me back in time and I could almost hear the grunts, the crackle of the fire and smell the meat roasting! Sometimes though, details were a little much and I felt anxious to get on with the story when the author was explaining the tedious steps involved in making a weapon or such things like that. After finishing the book I have a yearning for simplicity. I set out to e...more
This is the first of a series of four books based in Europe during the Ice Age that follows the journey of Ayla, a woman of apparently many talents and abilities.

While I was mesmerized by the story, I was bothered by some reviews (not just on Goodreads) that claim it is a racist series. Sometimes reviews ruin reading... The fact that I was aware enough to spend time looking for racist overtones distracted me.

Upon reading, here is what I decided. If I can read the book and enjoy it, anyone shoul...more
Ayla is just 5 years old when she loses her entire family and everyone she has ever known to a cave in caused by an earthquake. Completely alone and without the skills she needs to survive she wanders aimlessly until she is injured by a cave lion and she is close to death when members of the Clan of the Cave Bear find her. Iza is a medicine woman and although the child is one of the "Others" (a Cro-Magnon human) and very different to the Clan (who are Neanderthals) she is unable to walk away fro...more
The Clan of the Cave Bear is the first in Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, and it’s an exciting way to begin. The book is a coming-of-age story for a young girl, Ayla, living during the Ice Age who is orphaned during an Earthquake. Ayla is adopted by The Clan of the Cave Bear, although she clearly is not “Clan,” as she looks, acts, and communicates very differently. The story is clearly a work of fantasy, as there are obvious factual inaccuracies; however, the quality of Auel’s writing makes...more
Ugh. Throughout my childhood this book sat off-limits on my parents' bookshelf. As the kid who read White Fang 9 times in one year, I really wanted to jump on its primitive-wilderness-and-spunky-heroine train, but I was not allowed to do so - apparently some of its scenes were deemed 'too graphic' by my parents (Now I know why). I finally bought it this fall at a discount paperback book store and have been unable to finish it in a year. The prose, ugh. The nature-porn cheesiness, double ugh. The...more
Jul 03, 2009 Ciaran rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The illiterate
Recommended to Ciaran by: Bookshop Recommendation sign
"Hello I am a researchere who has given up my life to study neanderthals and my story telling skills are roughly equivalent to those of my subjects"should be Jean's introduction to her work, "as I believe fiction should be written in the form of a dull and tedious encyclopaedia."
I checked out this audiobook because I knew it was a bestseller a few decades ago, and I figured that since it was a bestseller, it must be good. Oh, how wrong we can be at times.

I hate to slam books because I know authors put a lot of work into them, but I have to do it this time. This book was bad for so many reasons. First, there was a lot of repetition and needless detail. A couple hundred pages could have been cut from the manuscript without changing the story at all. How many times did we...more
James Renner
I don’t give up on a book easily. I can count on one hand the times this has happened. But this book and I have come to a parting of the ways. And this is sad, because I really wanted to like this book.

I’ve always been curious about The Clan of the Cave Bear. I love the idea of setting a sweeping epic story during the time of cavemen. And the covers for this series by Jean M. Auel are absolutely beautiful and practically call to readers, promising adventure within. On a recent trip to Manhattan,...more
I've been wanting to read it for years, ever since I saw my father read it. So when an anthropology course got me interested in prehistoric humans, this seemed like the perfect choice to read. Now, having read it, I'm a little unsure what I think about it.

On the one hand, I really liked the concept of the book, and I'm definitely planning to read the next one in the series, not because it ended on a cliffhanger, but also because I'm genuinely interested in just where the series is going. On the...more
Feb 16, 2010 ~M~ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Archaeology Fans, Womens Studies Fans, People Interested in Culture, People Interested in Religion
Recommended to ~M~ by: Mom
My mother was an avid reader and a stunted fan of archaeology. She took me to the King Tut exhibit in the 1970s, and she owned this book. I first read it in high school and I credit this book and our trips to the Field Museum in Chicago as the inspiration for my BA in anthropology and religious studies, and my many years working in museums.

As an anthropologist by training, what really fascinates me is the idea of being dropped into an entirely alien culture or environment, and how do we as human...more
Absolutely amazing! What a roller coaster of emotions reading this, especially the end. This just became my favorite book. I've never read anything with such depth in so many ways. History, anthropology, biology religion, the human spirit, and more. I think I had something to say to my wife about almost every page and I was constantly thinking and comparing the people of the Clan's time to our own. We're not really all that different though we'd like to pretend we are. The same themes appear in...more
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Book Chatter: Ayla... After the Clan? 6 7 Jun 28, 2014 01:53PM  
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The Chennai Book ...: Anybody have this book I'd like to borrow? 4 35 Jul 05, 2013 10:55PM  
How To Put This? 116 1244 Apr 07, 2013 12:28PM  
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Jean M. Auel, née Jean Marie Untinen is an American writer. She is best known for her Earth's Children books, a series of historical fiction novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals. Her books have sold 34 million copies world-wide in many translations.

Author Jean Marie Auel (surname pronounced like "owl") is the second of five children of...more
More about Jean M. Auel...
The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2) The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children, #3) The Plains of Passage (Earth's Children, #4) The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, #5) The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children, #6)

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“But when did you see her, talk to me? When did you see her go into the cave? Why did you threaten to strike a spirit? You still don't understand, do you? You acknowledged her, Broud, she has beaten you. You did everything you could to her, you even cursed her. She's dead, and still she won. She was a woman, and she had more courage than you, Broud, more determination, more self-control. She was more man than you are. Ayla should have been the son of my mate.” 20 likes
“He's part me and part Clan, and so is Ura. Or rather, she's part Oda and part that man who killed her baby.” 4 likes
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