My Sister, the Serial Killer
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Page Count: 223
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Original Publication Date: 2018
Genre(s): Adult fiction, Contemporary
Korede answers her phone and hears those four words she’d hoped she’d never hear again: Korede, I killed him. This marks the third time Korede’s younger sister, Ayoola, has killed a man in “self-defense,” so she claims. Korede isn’t sure she believes this or not, but she loves her sister fiercely and will do anything to protect her. But when Ayoola starts dating Tade, a doctor that works with Korede whom she has secretly been in love with, Korede is stuck: save this man from potential murder, or continue backing her serial killer sister?
My Sister, the Serial Killer is perhaps the most unique book I’ve read all year. Set in Nigeria and told in first-person, we follow Korede’s journey after her sister’s third murder. Ayoola vehemently insists each killing is in self-defense, but how can Korede be sure? After this murder, Korede starts to recognize (and fear) that this behavior won’t stop.
“Femi makes three, you know. Three, and they label you a serial killer.”
Korede is just starting to grasp this when Ayoola begins dating Tade, a doctor that works with Korede and also Korede’s long-time crush. Now all Korede can think about is Tade with a knife in his back—literally.
The novel is comprised of short chapters that bounce back and forth in time between present-day and the girls’ childhood. We learn early on that their father was not a great man, and his actions clearly and quite severely affected both girls, but in different ways. Ayoola is unabashedly gorgeous and reckless. Men fawn over here. They also seem to keep dying around her. Korede, on the other hand, is quick witted, meticulous (to an obsessive-compulsive degree), and was not as blessed in the physical department as her sister. Which is why Tade instantly falls for Ayoola instead of Korede, who has been there in front of him the whole time.
I wanted to stray from labeling this novel as a mystery, thriller, suspense, or crime novel. Most other people have given the novel these labels, but I think they’re misleading. Yes, men are murdered. But that’s not quite the focus of the story. My Sister, the Serial Killer is more a look into the family dynamics in play here, and how differently both Korede and her sister turned out.
None of the characters are particularly likable. And when the book ends, you’re kind of just left sitting there like, Huh. Short and sweet, this book is definitely worth a read. I guarantee you’ve never read anything like it.