The Clan of the Cave Bear

The Clan of the Cave Bear

A Novel

eBook - 1980
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A natural disaster leaves young Ayla wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly. She is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza's way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get rid of her.
Publisher: New York : Crown, ©1980
Description: 1 online resource (468 pages)
ISBN: 9780307767615

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haushallmartinez Nov 07, 2020

I'm calling time on this one. I read it before... at least a couple of times... but that was 20 years ago, and it did not age well. The brief summary: Ayla, a Cro-magnon girl, is orphaned in an earthquake, found by Neandertals, and raised among them, until her differences, and the enmity of the heir-apparent of the chief, forces her into exile.

One part is somewhat forgivable, and some fun world-building. Auel's Clan (Neandertals) cannot speak well, so they have an elaborate sign language. This is the forgivable part, because a Neandertal hyoid bone (the only bone in the body not connected to another bone, so easily lost when dealing with skeletal remains) had not been found, so the consensus when she started writing was that Neandertals could not speak with the same fluency of of modern humans... the hyoid is part of what lets us make such a wide variety of sounds.

The rest, though? That gets a bit less forgivable. Neandertal society, as presented, is absolutely sex-differentiated, which is what makes Ayla, who does not have the biological sex-differentiated memories a near outcast. Clan women would not consider touching weapons, because the culture of the Clan is ingrained into every member... but, Ayla, being Cro-Magnon, does not have that, so she learns to hunt. Several times, pedophilia is presented as being normalized in the society ("beguiled by some young coquette" was the phrase used), and a major story thread is her repeated rape by the story's antagonist (which is culturally supported, naturally, since Clan women are subservient to men in all things). This is compounded by the fact that Neandertals are described as pretty uniformly brown, with brown eyes, extensive body hair, and bushy hair on their head, while Ayla is blue-eyed and blonde-haired, leaving to a reading where the precocious and clever beautiful white girl is raised by these benighted, barbaric brown people with their backwards ways.

I liked it well enough when I was younger. But this story starts at the deficit of being based on old archaeology, and runs downhill from there, through racism, sexism, and rape.

Sep 20, 2020

This book speculates on what life might have been like 100,000 years ago among Neanderthals and modern humans advancing into Neanderthal territory.

Personally, I found it rife with modern discoveries from fire, cooking, sewing to a cornucopia of pharmaceutically active plants and medical techniques that I don't believe existed. And methods of communicating from gestures to detailed knowledge that people are born with seem like a resort to magic.

Still, it's a good yarn and plausible enough to be interesting until something better comes along.

Aug 18, 2020

I would like to renew the book that I presently have out which is The clan of the Cave Bear.

Aug 17, 2020

This is absolutely the WORST book I have read in my entire life. I do not exaggerate, nor do I say that lightly. It is also terrible that this is heartily recommended to young readers (as it was to me). This book is full of rape and systematic abuse - both physical and psychological - as well as a slew of other content issues including pregnancies from rape and child abandonment. And whether or not it is intentional, this book has strong supreme Aryan race vibes. The main character is pale skinned and blond and continuously described as ridiculously intelligent where as her counterparts are darker skinned, dark haired, stupid, and violent - all due to their lack of evolutionary development (as the narrator repeats ad nauseum).

In between the trauma porn are long-winded, dry info dumps. The book is utterly lacking in character development, plotting, and writing skills. Out of the literal thousands of books I've read, this is hands down the worst book of them all.

Aug 14, 2019

This book has amazing detail about natural pharmaceuticals. I am on my second read and the detail captivates me, as it did the first time! In the forward it mentioned Auel received recognition for her detailed research on prehistoric life, and it is true the book is almost a research tool! Fascinating.

May 04, 2019

p 119

Aug 01, 2018

Excellent story! I intend to re-read/listen to the entire series! A very good introduction to prehistoric civilization. There may be some inaccuracies due to recent discoveries but "it's" fiction written with accurate data at the time of the writing. I read for entertainment and the story certainly does that!

Nov 26, 2017

This is the dullest most boring book I have ever read. It's like sitting through a course on anthropology. The characters' names were mostly three or four letters long and it was impossible to keep them apart. A shorter version without so much narration would make this a better book. I kept thinking "get on with the story" every time she would start discussing weeds and bushes.

SaraLovesBooks Jan 09, 2017

When I started this series, I had no idea that "Valley of Horses" and "Plains of Passage" were sequels to "Clan of the Cave Bear," so I didn't start with this one. However, the book is great start to the series. It really introduces the reader to the world of the Stone Age, when both Cro-Magnons and Neaderthals still walked the earth together. The books are highly researched, though unfortunately suffer from the fact that there has been a lot of new research in the past forty years, which contradicts things Auel's novels. However, that is not her fault, and this book is up to date for what was known at the time of her writing. I highly recommend this series for historical fiction readers, especially those who like pre-historic writings.

Mar 08, 2016

I was named after the main character in this book and I can say that this book does not disappoint . Every adventure and heartbreak makes you want to read this book more and more! I finished this near 500 page book in 3 days. That is how good it is.

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Age Suitability

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Aug 17, 2020

Colleenreadsmore thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

Jan 20, 2019

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Mar 08, 2016

19aadkins thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Sep 10, 2014

liamata thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

feramorz99 Aug 27, 2012

feramorz99 thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

SpeakTheAbsoluteTruth Jul 17, 2012

SpeakTheAbsoluteTruth thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 27, 2011

jvanderg thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

bidbid Jul 18, 2011

bidbid thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary
Aug 08, 2014

Orphaned at a young age, Ayla grows up with a clan of people very different from her. She faces many problems because of this.

Jun 03, 2014

A novel of an extraordinary person. Ayla was found, almost dead from a cave lion attack, at approximately 5 years old. A cro-magnon child, raised by the vastly different neanderthal people, Ayla learns how to struggle for what she wants even in the face of great hardship. She is a character that all our girls would do well to pattern their behavior after!

SqueeGirl Oct 14, 2009

Orphaned at a young age, Cro-Magnon Ayla is adopted into a Neanderthal clan.

Earth's Children Book #1


Add Notices
Aug 17, 2020

Sexual Content: Rape both of young girls and adult women; pregnancy through rape.

Aug 17, 2020

Violence: Years of physical and psychological abuse. Child abandonment. Sexism.


Add a Quote
Aug 08, 2014

"'I'm not dead Broud,' she gestured defiantly. 'I won't die. You can't make me die. You can make me go away, you can take my son away from me, but you can't make me die!'"

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