Friday, November 9, 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Reviewed by Christy

            Hardworking nurse Korede is the responsible oldest child, always taking care of her spoiled little sister Ayoola and cleaning up her messes.  She does this quite literally when Ayoola calls her in a panic; claiming she’s just killed her boyfriend in self-defense.  Korede rushes over with cleaning supplies, ready to begin scrubbing and bleaching. This is the third boyfriend in a row that Ayoola has killed “in self-defense”.
            Braithwaite’s short novel, set in Nigeria, tells the story of two close sisters tied even closer by their shared secret. Poor Korede is downtrodden. She has a good job as a nurse but her no-nonsense work ethic hasn’t really earned her any friends in her lackadaisical co-workers. A handsome doctor who catches her eye sees her for the good nurse that she is but nothing more. The only person she really feels close to is her younger sister Ayoola, whom everyone considers the Beautiful One. But Ayoola’s beauty masks a cruelty streak.  Korede knows it’s wrong to help her sister cover up her crimes but she can’t bear the thought of her being taken away. It isn’t until the handsome doctor takes an interest in Ayoola that Korede seriously considers doing the right thing and exposing her sister.
            My Sister, the Serial Killer is marketed as “satire meets slasher” and “darkly funny” but I found it very sad more than anything. Even on her best days Ayoola is a selfish, immature brat who takes everything her sister does for her for granted. Their family openly favors Ayoola as well, a fact Korede accepted a long time ago and just sees as normal now. There is also a back story about their abusive, philandering father that is heartbreaking as well. But the novel is not without humor; like Korede constantly having to stop Ayoola from uploading inane pictures to Instagram because she’s supposed to be mourning her “missing” boyfriend.
            Despite the gloominess of Korede’s life, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a quick and easy read, and I liked reading the Nigerian details sprinkled throughout the book. Braithwaite does a good job of getting straight to the point without sacrificing characterization. Readers will quickly know exactly what kind of person Korede is and exactly what kind of person Ayoola is. My Sister, the Serial Killer will be released on November 20, 2018.
            **I received an ARC ebook of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. **