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My Sister, the Serial Killer

Review

My Sister, the Serial Killer

When responsible Korede gets a call from Ayoola, she feels obliged to come and help her flighty younger sister get herself out of another scrape. Ayoola, it turns out, has stabbed her latest boyfriend to death and needs help disposing of the body and covering up evidence of the crime. Was it self-defense? Or was Ayoola just getting bored or annoyed with her latest love interest? Korede doesn’t ask too many questions, though she does get frustrated with Ayoola’s apparent willingness to incriminate herself by publishing lighthearted social media posts inappropriate for someone who’s supposed to be grieving.

It turns out that this isn’t the first time Ayoola has turned to violence --- nor is it the first time Korede has been enlisted to help out her beautiful and entirely remorseless younger sibling. The two have been enmeshed --- sometimes helpfully, other times less so --- since they found mutual support in one another during their father’s violent outbursts. But Korede’s seemingly endless capacity to overlook Ayoola’s frightening lapses in judgment may be coming to an end, as Ayoola appears to have set her latest romantic sights on none other than Tade, Korede’s physician colleague at the hospital where she works as head nurse.

"MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER is at its heart an entertaining novel, by turns funny and suspenseful, while also demonstrating its author’s skillful hand at character development..."

Is Korede’s increased agitation at Ayoola prompted by concerns over Tade’s safety? Or is it motivated by her own attraction to the handsome doctor? Either way, Korede finds herself growing more and more resentful and distrustful of her younger sister, confiding her animosity as she cares for a patient in a coma. But if that patient were to wake up, what secrets might he reveal?

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER is a darkly comic novel, one with a narrator whose complicated emotions simmer just below the surface of her completely deadpan delivery. Oyinkan Braithwaite lays out her debut in short chapters and exquisitely drawn scenes, offering just enough of a glimpse into the young women’s present states and past histories to piece together at least some of their motivations. The book also gives American readers an intriguing look at contemporary Nigeria. The sisters’ story illustrates a youth culture of social media and fashion that will feel very familiar to many readers while also exposing them to different social mores and expectations that may open up possibilities for discussion.

At the end of the day, MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER is at its heart an entertaining novel, by turns funny and suspenseful, while also demonstrating its author’s skillful hand at character development, in the way Korede narrates both her own story and that of her sister.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on November 21, 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer
by Oyinkan Braithwaite

  • Publication Date: November 20, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • ISBN-10: 0385544235
  • ISBN-13: 9780385544238