Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer

4 (out of 5) stars!

WHY I CHOSE IT: One of my best friends, Georgia, recommended this book to me. I’d already seen it on posters around London but the personal recommendation encouraged me to give it a read.

THE PLOT: The novel centres on Korede and her sister Ayoola, the aforementioned serial killer. It begins with Ayoola killing her third boyfriend in ‘self-defence’, and Korede coming to her rescue to dispose of the body, yet again. The novel explores Korede and Ayoola’s relationship, and the lengths people will go to protect their family. When Ayoola starts dating Korede’s colleague, Korede must choose between Ayoola and the man she secretly loves.

MY RATING: This is a very strong first novel from Nigerian author, Oyinkan Braithwaite. The short chapters and sparse writing style give the book a strong sense of tension and pace. I raced through it and it’s a very quick, easy and absorbing read. I liked how the author used social media and contrasted it against Nigerian traditions, explaining them for a western audience, highlighting how both are centred around appearances and reputation.

The story has been described as a ‘feminist satire’ because beautiful Ayoola traps unwitting male victims with her innocent, childlike looks. However, I found Ayoola a little bit simplistic in her very basic view of right and wrong. The author uses flashbacks and the backstory of Ayoola and Korede’s upbringing, particularly their abusive father, to explain Ayoola’s psychopathic tendencies. But I would have enjoyed a more complex and realistic portrayal of Ayoola struggling with her actions, rather than as a one-note foil to Korede’s inner turmoil. I quite liked the abrupt ending to the novel, which had a lack of resolution or closure. Although I think the climactic altercation which the novel is leading up to could have been stronger and more emotive if Korede had been present for the main action, rather than arriving late at the scene.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “It takes a whole lot longer to dispose of a body than to dispose of a soul, especially if you don’t want to leave any evidence of foul play.”