Book Review – My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…
My Sister The Serial Killer is an enjoyable mix of humour and mystery, casting a keen eye on family ties, relationships and societal expectations. Delightful, all the more so for the Lagos setting, which I can relate to. But this could be anywhere in the world and applicable to all irrespective of background, as the focus is on family dynamics: how and why things are the way they are.
Beneath the humour there are serious themes at play, it deftly masks the undercurrent of distress that is revealed subtly throughout the novel to explain why Ayoola kills and Korede doesn’t condone but neither exposes her. It really gets to the heart of the sibling relationship – the expectation of what you should, could and must do for family.
We see the effects on Korede who does not meet society’s standard of attractiveness – external presentation at least – becoming unintentionally skilled at passing through life unafforded romantic entanglement, serious or otherwise. She is a unwilling member of the group, that is reliable, dependable, the hard workers who facilitate a life of ease for the fortunate few.
How often can you forgive someone experiences as a
child especially when that was your childhood too?
When can it be your opportunity to lash out or vent
about the unfairness of being the responsible one.
This is a lightweight read despite it’s dark themes and whilst not all characters are fully realised, it doesen’t distract whatsoever from the joy of reading this exuberant tale, moreso because the end indicates that there is change in the air, the possibility of a happy ending and that is only fair.
4 stars – really liked it