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The Clan of the Cave Bear - A book review

February 26, 2008
Posted by mmarvs in : Books
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A review by Ana Gloria Sánchez Pitiot

Some years ago, I told a friend that I didn’t like books with a lot of descriptions. She said she knew a book that would change my mind. Then she lent me this book (needless to say in Spanish).
When I started reeding it, I got involved in the story very quickly. It was very descriptive but it was also gripping. I think it took me only two weeks to finish it, and I just loved that book, so when my friend Raquel told me she had the original version I thought it was time to re-read it.

The book tells the story of a Cro-magnon child, Ayla, who is brought up by a clan of Neanderthal people. While the little girl and the people of her kind were very similar to us, the Neanderthals looked much more primitive. They were shorter and stronger, with long arms, beaky nose, a prognathous jaw, no chin and a large head. They also had strong cultural differences that were hard to accept for Ayla as she grew up, although she had no memories about her former life.

The clan were twenty in number, but it was the clan’s medicine woman, Iza, who picked up the youngster when she was alone and close to death, took her as a daughter and taught her all about clan’s medicine. One of Iza’s brother was Creb, “the moggur”, the holy man of the clan. He was crippled and scared, and feared by all children -and some adults- except for Ayla. Iza, Creb and Ayla shared the same “heart” -a home in the cave that was limited only by a few stones- and they were a ful family. Iza had another brother, Brun, the man who led the clan. It was a big effort for him to accept the strange girl as a clan
member at first, and to accept and forgive her oddities and wrongs later. But he was a lenient and fair leader, in contrast to his son, Broud, that hated Ayla deeply in his heart. If Broud had’t been so envious of her, her live with the clan would have been completely happy.

I found this book easy to read but for the descriptions, there are too many vocabulary about lanscapes, animals, plants, and the way they hunt and do ordinary tasks. But It wasn’t a big problem since I already have all that images in my mind.

Finally, I hope I’ve caught your attention and you decide it is worth reading. I’m sure you will find it very interesting, either in English or in Spanish.

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