TITLE: My Sister, the Serial Killer
AUTHOR: Oyinkan Braithwaite
MY RATING: 5/5
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*
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 a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…
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Well, this is a review that is long overdue! I actually read this back in January, but because I prioritised posting ARC reviews this one has been sat waiting. However, as my first 5 star read of 2021 it really should’ve been given its chance to shine here long before now, but better late than never I suppose.
I really don’t know where to begin if I’m honest, I actually find it really difficult to write a review for a 5 star read because I worry that my words will be all jumbled and what will come out will be just a whole load of gushing that doesn’t even make sense!
My Sister, the Serial Killer was everywhere last year. Whatever book related media I looked at, it was there, it seemed as though everyone was reading (and loving) it. I have to say though that this didn’t worry me too much in relation to whether it would live up to the hype or not. From the reviews that I was reading, and from the synopsis of the book I was confident that this would be one for me, and I wasn’t wrong!
‘Ayoola summons me with these words—Korede, I killed him. I had hoped I would never hear those words again.’The opening of My Sister, the Serial Killer
Let me start here, right at the beginning. What an opening two sentences! I highlighted this at the time of reading, which I don’t often do, but there was something about this opener that I just found so arresting. I actually paused before continuing, because it really did stop me in my tracks. I wrote at the time that it reminded me of the opening to Rebecca – memorable to say the least, and I still feel this way now.
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The title is pretty self-explanatory, this is the story of Korede and her sister Ayoola, a rather ditzy and self-absorbed character with a nasty penchant for killing her boyfriends. Trouble is that once the deed is done her ditzy tendencies seem to overwhelm her once again, leaving the far more level-headed Korede in charge of the clean-up operation. Of course, this is all bad enough but then one day Ayoola starts dating the man that Korede had wished for herself…
This is just a phenomenal read, not only am I confident that this will be one of my favourites for this year, but I actually think this will earn a spot on my favourite ever reads list.
I love the writing style, the matter of fact narrative that Korede and Ayoola both provide is just perfect for this novel. The two sisters couldn’t be more different, and yet this is the thread that holds them together and shows that they are sisters after all. Korede is the more likeable of the two, however she is not without her flaws – yes she doesn’t commit the murders, but she is far from blameless! Equally, Ayoola is not completely unlikeable. She did frustrate me a lot, and yet there were times that I pitied her. The book provides the backstory of the trauma that they both carry from their childhoods, and this insight serves to blur the lines a little. It doesn’t take away from her despicable actions, but it does humanise her a little more.
In addition, the tone of prose, which borders upon comedic at numerous points is a real positive. I don’t know why it works but it just does. To give an example, let me share this quote with you…
‘Maybe she is reaching out because she has sent another man to his grave prematurely, or maybe she wants to know if I can buy eggs on the way home.’
I’ve already spoken about the two main characters, but just to confirm, the character development is perfect for everyone that we meet in this book, and even for those that we don’t get to actually meet. It is clear that so much thought has gone into how each person plays a part in the unfolding story, and the result is a book where every character has a place and is both necessary and perfectly designed.
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The plot is clever, one of those ones that lays itself bare immediately, or seems to, but then provides numerous twists and turns as it progresses. And the ending? In my opinion the book came to a close in just the way that it should, I used the word authentic in my notes and upon reflection I still think that’s the best description.
I have nothing bad to say about this book (yes, that’s blindingly obvious by this point!) but if I had one wish it would be to be able to go back and read it for the first time again. Don’t get me wrong I know I’ll love it each time I reread it but there is something so magical about reading a five star book for the first time. I’m not recommending that you pick up a copy, I’m begging you to do so, and it’s not even particularly long so there really is no reason not to!
Have you read My Sister, the Serial Killer? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!