Review of My sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
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. That’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defense 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 review of my sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
I don’t know why I slept on this beautiful book for so long. I really enjoyed reading this it. For one, it’s written in very simple sentences and short chapters, which makes it easy to read. This book is about two sisters from a notoriously dysfunctional home; one is a serial killer, while the other covers up the entire mess.
Review of my sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
Ayoola, the younger of the duo is extremely beautiful, one with lots of charm and who carries herself with grace. She exudes a pleasant aura that draws both men and women to her side. She effortlessly steals the spotlight wherever she goes and undeniably enjoys the praises and admiration that come with it. She does whatever she wants, whenever she wants it and does not care about anyone’s feelings. She always has a knife in her bag which she stabs her boyfriends with, and which she always hides after she commits a crime.
She’s weird no doubt, stabbing any man she becomes almost intimate with, without flinching or wallowing in self-loath. She does one thing though, whenever she stabs her boyfriend, she calls her elder sister Korede, who rushes to the scene and helps her cover the crime, by disposing of the body as perfectly as possible. On the other hand, Korede, who tells this story from her perspective is a nurse and aesthetically unappealing. However, what she lacks facially, she makes up for her height. Because she’s tall, taller than her beautiful younger sister who is only 5’2.
Also read Book Review: No longer at ease by Chinua Achebe.
One might wonder if the sisters are Psychopathic monsters who derive pleasure in killing guys and covering up murders, and they would be right to think so. Because who in their God-given mind would carry out these heinous crimes consistently with impunity? And this boils down to their childhood and the kind of domestic abuse they suffered. Now, they had a father, a dangerously violent one and an abuser at that, who treated their home like a war front, with him being a soldier and his wife and daughters being his enemies.
Throughout the book, they don’t address him as ‘daddy’ or any name that denotes fatherhood, because according to Korede, he was never one and it is best they address him as ‘he.’ And of course, he is late, so everything we know about him is what Korede allows us to know. But we find out that he was also a serial cheat and an abusive parent, who had girlfriends all over the universities in Lagos and who derived joy in flogging his kids and beating his wife. He had a knife he loved so much and didn’t hesitate to show everyone who visited and tell them different tales of how he got the knife. It is the same knife that Ayoola brandishes, the same knife that always comes out whenever he stabs her boyfriend, the same knife that Korede cannot find no matter how hard she searches the house.
Also, read Book Review: Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John.
From childhood, Korede is being told by her mum, that as an older sister, it is her duty to protect her younger sister. And I think that goes a long way in shaping Korede’s life and mind. She doesn’t really love Ayoola, if anything, she is envious of how everything comes to her freely, while she, the older sister has to work her ass out to get anything. But because of the way her mind is being conditioned that her existence is merely for the protection of her sister, she does exactly that, even if there’s no reason for her to.
Ayoola in turn doesn’t love her sister. She just sees her as someone who must cover up her mess, while she enjoys her life. But both don’t know this, they think they’re merely being sisters and that is how sisters behave toward each other. They are both mentally screwed from childhood, which makes them turn into miserable adults. Their mother is just a typical wife to a rich man, who neither has a voice nor power. Who helplessly watched her husband beat her daughters mercilessly, who endured all the beatings from her husband, because what could she do? But all that silence, all that endurance would have an adverse effect on her kids, because one would turn into a serial killer, and the other, an enabler.
Also read Book Review: Beach read by Emily Henry
The hate you give little infants fucks everyone.‘ That’s a saying from the book, ‘The Hate U Give.‘ These girls weren’t loved properly as kids, they weren’t even loved at all by the only male adult in their lives. And Ayoola had one particular experience that changed her mindset toward men. She thinks no man can really love anyone. After all, all they’re after is sex and nothing more. So she kills them off whenever they come in contact, with the excuse they come at her first. But everything takes an interesting turn when Tade, Korede’s crush and colleague at the hospital comes into the picture.
Korede harbors anger and jealousy for her sister because no one looks in her direction. Everyone treats her like crap but chooses Ayoola because the latter is pretty. Even their mother doesn’t regard her. She is all about Ayoola getting married, without giving a hoot about Korede. Though Korede doesn’t make it so obvious that she resents her sister, it is visible, though subtle, in the way she acts. The way she yanks off the flowers sent by Ayoola’s lovers. And Ayoola knows this too but pretends not to know. In fact, they are both mentally unwell and need professional help. But there’s so much a therapist can do for a serial killer and an enabler. No one would be confidential about such crimes, so they would keep deteriorating mentally.
This book covers a lot of themes. There’s the danger of child abuse and violence. Children look up to their parents for everything, so what happens if the parents are monsters? They think being monstrous is the way to go, and they dance in that direction. There’s also the satire of Nigerian police and their inefficiency and ineffectiveness. They never conduct their investigations properly, because why does Ayoola keep going scot-free? All they care about is money. Money for logistics and transportation, money to allow you a free pass, even if you might be carrying a wanted corpse in your car. There’s the theme of the effect of money and power. Korede’s father only cared about money and power and would hurt his family without even thinking twice because of those.
Also read Book Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover.
I’m sure you’ll be wondering what happens to Ayoola, but I won’t be a spoiler. The only thing I can say in Nigerian pidgin is, when power jam power, the lesser power go bow. I seriously enjoyed reading this book. It’s written in a very simple, interesting, and humorous way. I love the way the writer describes people and things. I love the way the chapters are short and easy to read, and the way she makes such a serious topic seem simple and captivating. But I don’t like the fact that we’re not given a clear picture of what happened to their father. As significant as he is in the lives of the two sisters, his character isn’t properly developed. I kept hoping a chapter would highlight more on their father’s death and how it happened, but that fact is simply scratched on the surface level. I also feel the author rushed the ending part. Because towards the end, everything is rushed, and not so much is said about a lot of things that need to be said. But I enjoyed it regardless. It was a short and easy read. I’d recommend this book if you’re yet to read it. And I’ll rate it as 4. 7/5.
Have you read the book? How do you feel about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, like, follow me on all social media platforms and share with your friends. Thank you for visiting Bookish Pixie.
4 thoughts on “Book Review: My sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.”