Barrett's Reviews > The Clan of the Cave Bear

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
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's review
Sep 17, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: on-real-shelf
Read in July, 2009

So, I picked up this book at the story right after the Venus of Hohle Fels showed up on my radar. I was craving some discourse about the Goddess, and craving some insights and ideas about these figurines with whom I identify to a very literal, surface extent. I looked up Venus worship, and there was Jean M. Auel's series. I'd heard much about it already from other folks, notably my parents, who had really enjoyed the first few books when they came out.

It's a fascinating book. I have some issues with it - it's often contrived (especially in dialogues), it suffers from a little too much "rich and beautiful description," and it's outdated (which is not Auel's fault - we didn't think Homo neandertalensis could speak until well after the book was written). But I like it for its large, sweeping vision of a time different than our own, for its wide use of female perspectives, for its parable-like qualities, for its subject matter, for its drama!

On a separate note that is less review and more shooting off at the mouth, I'm intrigued that she made the Homo neandertalensis humans (those of the Clan of the Cave Bear) were the ones who were patriarchical, while I can only assume that I will find in the next book, when I make it there, that the Homo sapiens humans (those like Ayla and modern humans) are matriarchal Goddess worshippers. Being a modern human, and firmly planted in a patriarchy makes me think it might have been the other way around, if it had been at all. And, yes, there are a few matriachical societies among modern humans, we think, and a few more are matrilineal, but this hardly makes it a trend.

I enjoyed it. It was long and arduous at times, but I'm still thinking about a few months later, so that can't be bad, right?


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