Mogsy (MMOGC)'s Reviews > The Clan of the Cave Bear

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
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May 13, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from May 09 to 13, 2011

Anthropology has always interested me. In college, I earned a degree in Anthropological Sciences, studying subjects like paleoanthropology, archaeology, primatology as well as as hunting-gathering societies and human culture. It was this interest that led me to the Earth's Children series, when I recently glimpsed "The Land of Painted Caves" (book 6) in a new releases newsletter. Intrigued, I decided to pick up book 1, The Clan of the Cave Bear.

I'd never read a historical fiction like this, featuring Neanderthals and prehistoric anatomically modern humans as the main characters. That already earns this novel a full star in my book, since I've seen nothing else that tackles this time period.

The first thing I noticed was that this book was very carefully researched. There were some inaccuracies, most notably anatomical ones, but I also remind myself that this book was written in 1980. As well, Auel takes many artistic liberties with Neanderthal social behaviors, especially with those relating to gender roles.

But on the whole, the facts were well done. While much of the paleoanthropological facts in the book are mostly of a general nature, reading it did bring back some fond memories of school, like the time I got to learn to knap my own flint tools (it's harder than you would expect, by the way).

But that's as far as my enjoyment of the book went, I'm afraid. I think I understand what the author was trying to do, showing the straightforward way prehistoric hominins might have communicated or conveyed their thoughts, but after a while the repetition and the internal dialogue really grated me.

I also felt the story was good, but it was told in a long, drawn out manner, using mostly descriptions of the characters' every-day life and relationships. Ironically, at times it felt like I was reading an ethnography instead of a novel.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew for some reason, seeing the title of this made me think of little lamplight.


Mogsy (MMOGC) Lol...except it has more to do with prehistoric humans and paleoanthro which you know I'm interested in...but yeah I can see how Little Lamplight can come to mind, children and all...


message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian Oh god, I remember finding these books in my local public library and reading them when I was in high school. As I recall there was a lot of sex in those books.


message 4: by Mogsy (MMOGC) (last edited May 18, 2011 10:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mogsy (MMOGC) Yeah, this first book isn't so bad but I hear the later ones almost devolve into hardcore porn.


message 5: by Brian (new)

Brian I remember some very explicit scenes. It was just the thing for a horny teenage boy though, and I remember thinking how funny it was that these books were in the library.


Mogsy (MMOGC) Haha, I remember a moment like that, like being shocked at discovering there were explicit material in actual books at the local library, as opposed to just in porn mags or videos. For me, it was the harlequin romances.


message 7: by Brian (new)

Brian I remember a similar time when I picked up a book at a convenience store while on family vacation. I had read everything I brought with me and was desperate for anything scifi or fantasy. All the store had as a book set in post apocalyptic America, it was part three or four in a series, and chock full of sex and violence. Not at all appropriate for me at that age (I'm guessing 13-ish). I felt so sneaky being able to sit in the family car and read it. Wish I could remember the title.


message 8: by Brian (new)

Brian Muahaha! My Google fu is strong! It was the C.A.D.S. series. http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?6550 http://www.nathanshumate.com/?p=3391

I don't remember which book in the series I read though.


Mogsy (MMOGC) LOL, bad Brian! I never worked up the guts to check out those books. I was like in grade 6 and always went to the library with my mother. I settled for sitting on the floor between the shelves in the romance section reading while my mom browsed for her own books.


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