The Book That Changed My Life

Jean M. Auel

Jean M. Auel, 1981Jean Auel was honored as a 1981 National Book Award Finalist for First Novel for The Clan of the Cave Bear.

Thank you for your letter. The first book which changed my life was a fairy tale -- East of the Sun and West of the Moon. It was read to my class by our fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Chamberlain.

I had always identified with the hero of stories. This was the first story where the "hero" was a girl. When I became aware of it, it made me realize that anyone could do heroic things, even me. I think the message was embedded in my psyche, because when I decided to write a novel at age 40, I never thought I couldn't. I just did it, even though it turned out to require a lot of research. I still think I can do anything I really want to. Although age is beginning to slow me down, it hasn't stopped me.

Sincerely,

Jean M. Auel