Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Ayoola summons me with these words—Korede, I killed him.
My Sister, The Serial Killer is the debut novel by Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite. A clever and dark comedy about two Nigerian sisters, the title alone is enough to peak any bookworm or thriller lover’s interest. I happen to be both, so I was quite excited to get my hands on this one. The story follows Korede, who is a nurse, and her baby sister Ayoola, who has a bad habit of killing her lovers. Korede and Ayoola, though very loyal to each other, are extremely different. Korede is disciplined and intelligent. She is a manager of other nurses and is doted upon by the doctors that she works with as a dependable leader. Korede constantly looks out for her younger sister and has, on perhaps too many occasions, helped to clean up the messes Ayoola makes. Ayoola, in contrast, is described as beautiful and flirtatious. She is witty and likely the walking example of what lightskin girls consistently refer to as “pretty privilege.” On top of being the beautiful one, Ayoola is also the baby of the family, which means she gets her way in a lot of situations (including the ones where she stabs her boyfriend to death and calls on Korede to help her clean up the blood).
Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer
The story is largely told from Korede’s point of view, giving the reader insight into her resentment for Ayoola, as well as her growing dissonance brought on by her own enablement of her sister’s actions. When Ayoola starts dating a man that Korede cares about, perhaps even loves, her loyalty to her sister, who refuses to take accountability for her actions, is tested. Braithwaite smartly blends dark comedy and satire into a story that is at its core about the bonds of sisterhood, manipulation, enablement, and patriarchy. Through flashbacks and memories retold by Korede throughout the story, we learn how trauma has impacted the dynamics of their relationship and individual personalities. While the novel started off strong, providing several opportunities to laugh out loud and play the “what’s gonna happen next?” game, it ultimately fell flat and did not provide resolve for the plot that it was building. In the end, I found myself disliking all of the characters, save one. If you’re like me, you will be rooting for specific characters, but in the end it seems no one really wins. Or at least not in the way that I had hoped, anyway. I ultimately rated the book 3 out of 5 stars because it left me a bit unimpressed, considering the really great story that it was building. However, it is a small and quick read and if Braithwaite delivered a sequel to the story I’d buy it!
One of fave quotes from the book because LOL Braithwaite is funny:
There is music blasting from Ayoola's room, she's listening to Whitney Housten's I Wanna Dance With Somebody. It would be more appropriate to play Brymo or Lorde, something solemn or yearning, rather than the musical equivalent of a pack of M&Ms.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my rating?