Saturday, January 5, 2019

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I had heard buzz about this novel and decided to place a hold at my library, then promptly forgot about it during the holidays. A handy email reminder from my library that it was being held for me jolted my memory--another book I've managed to start since January 1st. 

I have, however, finished this one; it's a pretty quick read and you can read it in an afternoon. It's also pretty darn good, in a serial killer kind of way. 

Korede is a nurse at a local hospital, and she's been in love with Tade, a handsome doctor she works with, for months. Korede is the elder sister to Ayoola, who is physically the exact opposite of Korede: small, trim, and stunning. Her looks make men stare, and she's used her power over men to get her way in practically everything. She's even gotten away with murder. 

Korede knows her sister is a serial killer; after all, she's "accidentally" stabbed three boyfriends, and left Korede to clean up the messes. She's an expert at cleaning up bloodstains and making sure all evidence is wiped away. Ayoola is simply amazing in her ability to remain unaffected, spending time on social media, and quickly finding a replacement for the boyfriend who is now dead. 

Things change when Tade meets Ayoola at the hospital, and quickly falls for her. Korede is heartbroken, and worried he'll end up dead. What can she do to prevent it?

The relationship between the two sisters is the crux of this novel. Anyone who has a sister knows what it's like-you can fight one minute, and then defend each other the minute someone else tries to harm them. Korede is horrified, pissed, and disgusted at her sister's behavior and lack of remorse, yet at the same time, she keeps covering Ayoola's tracks. Some insight into the girls' behavior comes from flashbacks to their father, and the horrible man he was--did he somehow influence Ayoola's murdering mind? There's a nice twist at the end. 

This wasn't the novel I thought I'd kick 2019 off with, but I'm glad I did--I think it would make a great movie, if the dark comedy was done right. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the food, clothing, and customs were fascinating to read. It's also an examination on how society treats women based solely on looks, and how familial loyalty is universal and, when it comes down to it, always wins out--especially between sisters. 

Rating: 4/6 for a quirky, dare I say darkly humorous look at two sisters: one a serial killer, the other the cleaner-upper.

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

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