My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Genres: Thriller, Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is billed as a “dark comedy,” and it certainly delivers. Honestly it was sometimes difficult to tell where the humor ended and the genuine began, which I loved.
I labeled it a thriller because it has many of those elements, however be warned that it wasn’t particularly suspenseful. Instead it’s more psychological, delving into the why of Korede’s and Ayoola’s behavior. Ayoola is almost certainly a sociopath, but certain events in their lives lead them up to where they are in this book. On that note, trigger warnings for domestic abuse.
The book was short and the chapters were minuscule, so the book read quickly, however I wouldn’t call it fast-paced. The writing style was very unusual, especially for a book in this genre. It felt almost like little vignettes that fit together to tell a story. I admit that I didn’t really connect with the way it was written, and so I ended up liking the idea of this book and some of the little details, more than I liked the book itself.
I loved the ending. As I said, this isn’t a suspenseful novel, and it’s not like there’s constant plot twists to keep you on your toes. But the end is definitely up to interpretation. I would love to chat with some folks who have read this book about what you think happened and is going to happen in the future!
The relationship between Korede and Ayoola was fascinating. They’ve got a kind of Marianne and Eleanor from Sense and Sensibility dichotomy going on where they’re complete opposites of each other. They openly resent one another, and yet they rely on one another, and are always there supporting each other through thick and thin. Watching how their relationship changes, and how their characterization changes as a result of this third murder was fascinating. In many ways Korede ends up behaving more like a serial killer than Ayoola does.
Call me anti-feminist, but I wasn’t crazy about the book’s characterization of men. Ayoola believes (and eventually convinces Korede) that all men are shallow, are only after a pretty face. I’m a romantic at heart, and I flat out refuse to accept it.
I highly recommend My Sister, the Serial Killer to anyone who enjoys a book that makes you think.