Jesus can this guy write. I was hooked immediately and couldn't put it down until it was finished. Put me in tears, and I feel like I'd know some of hJesus can this guy write. I was hooked immediately and couldn't put it down until it was finished. Put me in tears, and I feel like I'd know some of his characters if we were to meet (you know, afterlife-type of meet). Mostly, I loved experiencing Elie's philosophical and religious changes from the first to the last page....more
I should four-star it to express how much I loved the first several books as a child in the 80s. I read and reread it. The prose flows well, even thouI should four-star it to express how much I loved the first several books as a child in the 80s. I read and reread it. The prose flows well, even though IIRC there were some boring parts I couldn't wait to get through — a testament to the quality of the writing that you plow through the slow parts and get back into the action with ease.
I'd hesitate on calling it 'historical' at all, except in 'piss-poor attempt'; way too many liberties taken, most particularly with the protagonist's SOLE discovery and invention of everything from fire to freakin GENETICS [in later books], which puts it directly in the 'fantasy' genre for me. (And not good 'fantasy' at that.)
That said, it's not without redeeming qualities; it's a fun read, and the Cave Bear (Neanderthal) characters are very well done. Unfortunately, I put far more humanity into the Neanderthals than I assume was intended — Auel supposed Neanderthals couldn't talk and had a shared mind (nothing that's taught now, so it was hard to pigeon-hole who these guys were), but the Clan characters still had very human tendencies which could easily be read as Cro-magnun, which I'm afraid I did [way back when]. You will LOVE these characters. Unfortunately.
As hinted above, the largest caveat for me, which ultimately eclipsed the series' redeeming values and made me give up the series, was how Ayla invented or discovered everything useful all by herself, so much so that you understand humanity couldn't have existed without this one (as we suppose) "cro-Magnon" chic who, all before she was 25, discovered or invented fire, horseback riding, animal training, pack-horses, navigation, 'interspecies relations', politics, and medicine; and was well on her way to sussing out genetics! In the cro-Magnon period.
Auel's Ayla was too Mary Sue perfect to be palatable, especially by Book 3, and that negatively colored my perception of the whole series. I'd recommend Clan of the Cave Bear alone, except it ends with a cliffhanger, so reading Bks 2 and 3 feel necessary. So I recommend the first part of the series only with the warning that the protagonist is impossibly perfect in an already fantastical world.
Oh, and I guess maybe *spoiler* (though it's pure speculation on my part), Ayla's 'exotic' because she's not only better than the Neanderthals, but better than the cro-mags as well! She's early human; I bet the first surviving one; the first mutation! Oooh! Probably mitochondrial Eve herself. (If that turns out to be true, I'll officially dispose of my prized copies of this series in a bonfire, heh.)...more
I remember this book being awesome, but unfortunately that's about it. I want to re-read it before starring it, though if memory serves, it's going toI remember this book being awesome, but unfortunately that's about it. I want to re-read it before starring it, though if memory serves, it's going to be 4-5 stars. I think I liked it better than Umberto Eco, and I LOVE Eco. ;)...more
I knock it up a star because it deserves something for its place in American history, and out of respect for people that love it for that reason, butI knock it up a star because it deserves something for its place in American history, and out of respect for people that love it for that reason, but I couldn't get through it after two attempts at different stages of my life. It's not the bad language, exactly (unless 'bad language' means schizophrenic ramblings instead of obscenities), or the 'radical' ideas (Heinlein's Time Enough For Love came closer to offending my sensibilities, and it's on my Favorites list), but rather that Cancer reads like a self-indulgent, rambling, and yes sexist brain fart.
If you're going to be sexist, you'd better damned well have something else going for you. Irony, maybe; or a plot. Readability. Poetry.
I'm tempted to add yet another star for Miller's attempt at social commentary, but there are so many books that are first-person grating, meaningful social commentary that I just can't justify it just because Cancer was "first".
It's place in history allowed for many other books I do enjoy to be published; +1 star for that. And only that....more
**spoiler alert** This is among several books I've read and didn't rate/review until I had a chance to give them a second chance. I didn't like it as**spoiler alert** This is among several books I've read and didn't rate/review until I had a chance to give them a second chance. I didn't like it as a child, but I'm bigger now...
Still didn't like it. Maybe it was because I knew what was going to happen and couldn't give it a truly fresh re-read.
I have to admit, the ...blatant incest wasn't something that floated my boat; plus the suggestion that Heathcliff DUG HER UPand ...? yeah.
Maybe it is my own perstonal morality? ..but I can read Heinlein, and Lord Byron is my favorite poet, so it's strange that I would get hung up on that in a Brontë sisters novel. I don't think I did! I think it was the way it was told, and that I found very little to like in the characters, and maybe the moribund atmosphere, that made the novel so distasteful to me.
I give it the three stars not just because she's a Brontë, but because the author does a great job of pulling you into her world. If allowed, I might give it 3.5 stars for a nice ending and CLOSURE.
I simply didn't enjoy the actual story, the characters, or the plot. At all. If I'm going to hate all that, I need major wit and sarcasm (or something) to pull me through....more