Earth's Children books and the flower picking
You know there is always that classic book that everyone is saying….what? You did not read that one yet?!
Well, you haven’t read Jean Auel’s books about those times when mammoths were strolling in your backside courtyard, lions were eating your dog food and your New Year dress was made of a fox? Ah sorry, you still kill foxes even today when you don’t need fur to cover your beautiful body cause the cheap material clothes from the shopping mall don’t match your fashionista aspirations :(
Ever wondered how the world looked like ages ago? Were you ever curious how our ancestors behaved, interacted, loved and hated in a time without facebook, blogs and TV? Then go ahead and read Jean’s book series to discover the life in Europe when Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals were co-existing, one living and building a future, the other dying and staying in the past.
No doubt about it, the author did a lot of research and acquired a lot of help to make sure the historical facts and discoveries are not altered. The story is built around those premises but still, she managed to surprise me with things that I could not have imagined. The insight into the characters lives, relationships and the knowledge they possessed is amazing.
Did you know for example that Neanderthals could not lie (at least in Auel’s view)? Try to imagine people that always tell the truth! Would that be better? Would you prefer to know that your wife is cheating on you or simply pretend that you have a perfect family….and you cheat on her anyway just in case she does it too? Truth is a tricky business for someone that does not want to face reality. Life might not be so pink for you once you realize that you are not as pretty as you thought or not as liked by others. Is it NOT knowing better? Happy ignorant or depressed and aware? You choose…
The story unfolds over 6 volumes about Ayla, a blond beautiful girl found and raised by Neanderthals with their strange rules, a sign language that she cannot understand at first and social hierarchy that puts women way below men. So not a good read for all of you Sex and City girls out there cause in this books Beyonce is not your Queen B and Madonna is not wearing teenage men as accessories.
The society of these Neanderthals is indeed guided by a lot of rules, most of them much needed to ensure survival but strange enough, exactly some of those rules slowly become their undoing. The Others, the people where the blond girl came from will outlive them. The Neanderthals are born with the memories of their ancestors but they lack the ability and willingness to learn anything new. And I cannot stop myself from wondering….where did this outside the box kind of thinking took us? Ultimately to our planet’s destruction. A taller building, a bigger factory, a longer road, a stronger bomb and a world that might be forever lost. What is wrong with playing it safe like Neanderthals did? Do we really need to always push boundaries and torture our brains in creating something new? Will extinction come for us if we fail to launch a new Iphone?
And speaking of gadgets and of social media, this belly button of modern society….It seems that facebook behavior to block or delete people you don’t like was a common practice 30.000 years ago. In a slight different way but still, they had their own system to ignore. If someone did something bad, the clan would simply pretend this person was dead. No screaming, no divorce, no fighting, no killing….just imagine he/she was dead. Now this is what I call a damn good game of imagination!
I know….complex, interesting, smart but don’t run yet to the book store to buy The Clan of the Cave Bear (book 1 from 6) before I share some of the negative aspects! You would expect a book that describes a time of wild life, cave living, hunting and first steps of civilization, to have more danger and drama but I have to tell you from the start not to expect any King Kong meets Godzilla kind of action. Go ahead and read if you have the patience to wait for Ayla to pick all types of medicinal plants….one by one by one…Then she will tell you all their names and what they are good for. If she does not pick 1 million flowers, then she will cook or explain tools making with all the details that might put you to bed and snoring in no time.
Nevertheless, this is a good story that will take you on a journey of past times, cultural differences and many beginnings. And the sad truth is that sometimes somebodies beginning is somebody else’s end.
And speaking of end, I might never find out how Auel’s books finish if somebody does not discover a much stronger coffee to keep me awake through another 3 volumes of slowly picking flowers story.