Book Review: Semi-Apes by Sabah Carrim

5 out of 5


“Follies, superstition, tradition and unquestioned beliefs clog her world and the only means of escape is to destroy and recreate.”

A story told by Heera, a clinical psychologist, about her family, childhood, adolescence, career, love, dynamics of relationships with relatives, siblings, religion, gender roles and her search for answers. Set in Mauritius, it follows a Muslim family and their everyday lives. It aims to reveal an insular society and its building blocks. Heera gets to experience London at later parts of her life and further builds her own knowledge on matters. This further causes some trouble between her and her parents.


Carrim is an Asian Author and I don’t believe I’ve read any books by one before. So I was really excited to pick this one up to experience it for the first time. Obviously from my rating above, you know that I absolutely enjoyed this book. Maybe it was because I was able to draw connections with certain aspects of Heera’s lifestyle when it came to being a Muslim (and a Muslim girl), being the ‘Daughter of the House’ which entails certain behaviour, vocabulary etc.

The story goes back and forth between her childhood, adolesence and adult parts of Heera’s life. Although it discusses various important topics, I felt that it did justice to all of it. Becoming a clinical psychologist, she was finding answers that she couldn’t before or thought that there weren’t any answers and that’s just how things were. It bravely uncovers (taboo) subjects in that community such as divorce, paedophilia, all sorts of abuse. It builds up well and hits the right points each time. There was definitely an interesting twist where you expect the ending to be all justified because the story is ending but it takes another turn. It still was justifiable but it was about finding it within ourselves and as an individual.

Heera was not only the strong character. Every person had an important role to play and they made their significance for Heera to become who she was. I felt that ‘Semi-Apes’ was a very apt title because are we all really fully evolved yet? It was definitely an empowering book for women to take their stand, have strength and power as themselves. It was thoroughly wonderful reading this book and becoming so involved in it.

Every woman’s experience is worthy.

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