Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

38819868Genres: Thriller, Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

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.

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.

13 thoughts on “Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

  1. I thought it was really well done, as is your review. It’s a really different twist on sibling rivalry/alliances, male-female relationships, etc. That Ayoola and Korede have the same secret is the main thing that holds them together, I think, and Braithwaite does a terrific job showing the ways in which that secret has made each sister who she is.

    One minor quibble with this comment – “Call me anti-feminist, but I wasn’t crazy about the book’s characterization of men.”
    The author is Nigerian, not Nigerian-American. The book is set there and all the characters are from there. Reading other Nigerian and Nigerian-American authors has given me enough of a perspective to understand that being male in that culture still carries with it a level of privilege that outweighsthat of men in the US and other European countries.


    1. My about page clarifies them more, but I think of them like movie ratings, G, PG, PG-13, etc. Basically, I gave this book a 4-level maturity rating because there’s some death and sexual themes, so you wouldn’t want to give it to a kid. But there’s no explicit content, blood and guts, or curse-words, so people who don’t like those things are safe to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s great that the humour worked! And great that the ending worked so well. Yeah I don’t care if people call me anti-feminist- but I’m also a romantic at heart and can’t get behind that view of men either (also just know men that aren’t like that- so there’s that 😉 ) Still, I definitely want to check this out. Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, I feel like I fall in with this weird sub-culture of feminism where it’s a really big deal to me to see a variety of women represented in literature, but I feel equally strongly that men need to be represented diversely too. I think it’s important for little girls to have the option to play with “boy toys”, but I also passionately advocate for boys to have dolls and kitchens. It goes both ways, for me. I’m just weird like that.

      Liked by 1 person

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