Book Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer
My first deadline for my reader’s advisory class is coming up, so I’m really hustling to get as many titles read and reviewed in about a week’s time. Talk about hectic!
Today’s book review is for My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
I remember this book being a big thing a couple years back, but it didn’t seem like my cup of tea, so I skipped it over. Now I had a chance to give it a try, so strap yourselves in and let’s get on to the review!
Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.
“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”
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.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening.
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I’m extremely disappointed with this read, enough to have to take a breather before collecting my thoughts. That’s saying a lot for me.
Nothing really worked for me at all, and I’ll get to that in a moment. The general synopsis is that a woman named Ayoola keeps killing men. Her sister Korede cleans up after her, unsure of when the chaos will end.
So first and foremost, I believe this novel is an example of branding gone wrong. From the blurb and GoodReads, this book was labelled as thriller or mystery, maybe with a splash of humor. I got none of that.
The mystery element is minimal at best because Korede gives most everything away up front as the narrator. Sure, there are bits and pieces of information scattered throughout the novel from the past, but none of it was groundbreaking or surprising.
The thriller element doesn’t work because within the first few pages we know that Ayoola is causing all the chaos. She has an MO (modus operandi), and it becomes very predictable what’s going to happen.
The humor was practically nonexistent, except for me rolling my eyes at the few weak attempts scattered sparsely throughout the book.
The characters are unrelatable and unlikeable. Korede is far too flawed to be believable. I did learn about her and Ayoola’s troubled past, and while I appreciated that she still fell flat as a character. Korede despises Ayoola for her beauty and success with men, but still cleans up after her murders because of a sense of familial obligation. The conflict between these two things did make sense on some level, but Korede’s continued excuses to stop herself from intervening were exhausting as a reader.
Ayoola was a terrible villain. She’s gotten comfortable with Korede cleaning up after her and will do whatever she wants whenever she wants. She’s prone to pouting about when she can start posting on social media about happy things when she just murdered someone the other day. Annoyance and frustration don’t even begin to explain how aggravating this character was. Villains should have some trait/s that others can find endearing or menacing, something to make them interesting. Ayoola just felt vapid and juvenile.
All other characters were awful, especially to Korede. They all take turns in blaming her for not being better to her little sister while being so ignorant to the situation that it’s a wonder civilization doesn’t simply collapse upon itself. People are not this unintelligent, and I took offense to it.
Overall, this read truly upset me, and I do not recommend this novel unless you like torture.
That’s A Wrap!
Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!
Have a great day!
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Great review. I will be skipping this book. Thanks, Bestie!
Thank you! This one really tested my patience. Plenty of better books out there.
It’s interesting that you knew when this was a buzz-book that it wasn’t for you. You know your reading likes and dislikes, Jonny!
Right? I feel like this was bound to happen with my class pushing for trying out things we may not like, but hopefully I won’t have quite as negative reactions on my other picks.
I’ve decided to read the previews if they’re available first. Thanks for stopping by, friend!