mstan's Reviews > The Clan of the Cave Bear

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
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's review
Dec 13, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: american, historical-fiction, src-winter-2011-12
Read from December 21 to 31, 2011

Mixed feelings about this one. The writing is really quite dry and factual (and straightforward!), and while this has the advantage of presenting the pre-historical times Auel writes about very clearly, it also makes the book feel more like a historical document than an arresting story. Some readers may be entranced by the names of the various herbs Ayla (representing one of the first Cro-Magnon characters in the world) picks for her clan (still Neanderthals); the tribal customs and rites are also interesting. However, I read to be entertained (first and foremost!) and it took me a long while to get into this. I like the parts where the Neanderthals eye the Cro-Magnon with suspicion, and the ways Ayla pulls ahead of the clan when it comes to certain skills due to the way her body is constructed.

I can see why this has been a favourite of many people for many years now, but I think 500+ pages of caves and bears became rather too 'Discovery Channel' for me. I wonder if anthropologists and sociologists would find this interesting/accurate?

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Reading Progress

62.0% "The story picked up after the first third of the novel or so."
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