Archeology, anthropology and studies of ancient cultures is a real passion for me, so when I first read the book, "Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean M. Auel when it first came out (2002), by the first page I knew it would be one of my favorite books.
Set in the Ice Age, Ayla five years old, loses her tribe, the Cro-Magnons in an earthquake leaving her alone forced to survive by herself. She is attacked by a female cave lion which leaves a scar and marking her to have the cave lion, one of the fiercest animals back then. The lion leaves a scar on Ayla physically and spiritually which tells us that Ayla can face any threat with courage and strength. The Neanderthal clan who another race of humans at the time, find Ayla and take her back to their tribe. Because she looks so different and acts so differently from them, Ayla is treated as a slave and outcast, except for two of the Neanderthals, the old male Shaman and a Medicine Woman who become her teachers and parent-like figures for Ayla. As Ayla grows the Neanderthals become more hostile to Ayla and events happen that forces Ayla once again to fend for herself once again in the wilderness. Ayla goes off to search for other Cro-Magnons that may live somewhere else as well as having a child she has take care of which resulted because of a rape from a Neanderthal. What an amazing journey we venture with Ayla. I was obsessed with the book and still am.
Ayla is a character who spoke to my soul because of her strength, her vulnerability and willingness to persevere no matter how hard life became. The insight and research that went into this book made me feel as if I was living life back then and was fighting along besides Ayla. There are four books in this series but "Clan of the Cave Bear" remains my favorite. I couldn't recommend this book more; especially if you want to learn more about our early ancestors and want to meet a character who is a true heroine in every sense.
A remarkable epic of one woman's odyssey--filled with mystery and magic.
Here is the saga of a people who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear; how they lived; the animals they hunted; the great totems they revered. But mostly it is the story of Ayla, the girl they found and raised, who was not like them. To the Clan, her fair looks make her different--ugly. And she has odd ways: she laughs, she cries, she has the ability to speak. But even more, she struggles to be true to herself and, with her advanced intelligence, is curious about the world around her.
Although Ayla is clearly a member of the Others, she is nurtured by her adoptive parents, befriended by members of the Clan, and gradually accepted into the family circle. But there are those who would cast her out for her strange, threatening ways.
So the conflict between the ancient Clan, bound by heredity to its traditions, and the girl in its midst, of a newer breed destined to alter the face of earth, could never be resolved. And it is this same struggle that leads Ayla to venture where no Clan woman has ever dared. Driven by destiny and a will to survive, Ayla breaks the forbidden taboo...