Back in the 1980s, I remember enjoying reading The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980), by Jean M. Auel, her debut novel and the first in a planned series. I ran across the title the other day while watching Jeopardy, and when I looked the author up, I discovered that the sixth and final book in this series, Earth’s Children, was published in 2011. Now I am considering reading the rest.
For someone who had recently completed her college education, which included one physical anthropology class and numerous science classes, I found the evolutionary aspect of the book fascinating if speculative. The story itself kept my attention. Ayla, a Cro-magnon who is orphaned at age five by an earthquake, is rescued by a medicine woman and adopted into a Neanderthal Clan. As she matures, she disrupts the Cave society by challenging their traditions and taboos. In the end, she is exiled from the Clan and her half-breed child. This is a fascinating tale about what could have happened in a prehistoric, male-dominated society when a modern female was given some encouragement by a mentor. Far-fetched? You be the judge.