Hello dearies, #blogfam 👋🏾😊, how are you all doing? I just realized I didn’t wish us a “happy new month” for August so here’s to wishing us the best that this month brings✨💚
Today’s review is on the book, “My Sister, the Serial Killer” by British-Nigerian author, Oyinkan Braithwaite. I have to be honest and say that I did not really enjoy this book. I finished it alright, but it just didn’t do it for me and I’ll tell you guys why very soon. But before that, let’s take a look at a synopsis of the book from Goodreads.
“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. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence 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 Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water.”
Okay… so before I read this book, I actually saw many mixed reviews of it on Instagram; some bad, some good. But I still wanted to read the book and judge for myself. Well, ladies and gentlemen, as you may already know because I said so from the start, I unfortunately have to join the side of the crowd that did not like “My Sister, the Serial Killer.”
This makes me so sad because this book really had everything I think every good book should have to draw you in. Talk of the utterly stunning book cover that seizes your attention right from the get-go when you see it. Then, the title itself, “My Sister, the Serial Killer” that has you intrigued and asking questions even before you open it like, “who is this sister?; why is she a serial killer?; and who’s she killing and for what purpose?” Then you read the blurb and you’re in love because amazing storyline!, and you’re preparing for some chilling Nigerian mystery or thriller to blow you away. But that’s not what happens. Or at least, that’s not what happened for me.
When I started the book, the first chapter was fine. I was introduced to the main character, the introverted and not-so-easy-on-the-eye Korede, who is elder sister to the beautiful yet dangerous Ayoola, the eponymous “serial killer” who calls Korede to come to her aid after killing her boyfriend namely Femi which she claims was accidental in “self-defense”. But Ayoola is fine, there are no scratch marks on her body or anything to show any form of struggle between her and the supposed “violent Femi” when Korede arrives to see Femi soaked in his own blood in his apartment. So she begins to get worried because that’s the third man Ayoola has murdered under the guise of self defense and she kind of knows her sister is lying but she also doesn’t want to report her to the police. So she has to act like this big sister that cleans up after her little sister’s mess and tries to save her everytime which is something she mastered in childhood because of their abusive father. All of this doesn’t happen in the first chapter but this is how the story unfolds so you’re looking forward to explanations and getting to the point where you can understand Ayoola and probably empathize with her or the point where Korede stands up to her sister and speaks truth to her face. But no, that doesn’t happen. The story was fast paced but at the same time got boring very quickly. How that’s possible, I don’t even know but just few chapters in, I was like, “Eh…what’s going on here? Nah…this is not what I came here for!”
First, I was unable to put myself into the shoes of any of the characters. I didn’t find myself rooting for anyone, feeling sorry for anyone or deeply loving or connecting with any of them. For the first time in my reading life, I found myself outside the pages just watching from afar like; “uhmm…I could care less what happens to anyone here.” I was totally neutral—I mean there was never a point where I had to choose whose side or which side to be on.
I know people described this book as “comic” or having dark humor but I’m sorry, that was lost on me too. I can’t tell if it was because I wasn’t enjoying it already. I did find some few incidents at Korede’s workplace funny but that was it. I didn’t find the whole novel “humorous”.
The only character I was drawn to was Muhtar, the comatose man Korede used to share her secrets with at the hospital where she worked as a nurse. He was really kind to still keep her secret after recovering. I did not care much for Tade, the doctor Korede loved who later in turn fell for her sister. There really was nothing special about him for me. Ayoola’s mom too, I did not like; she was always on Ayoola’s side as if she could do no wrong. There was nothing spectacular about the other characters.
I honestly just kept getting irritated by most of the characters and their actions in the book. For instance why was Korede always feeling responsible for all of Ayoola’s shitty behaviour? Why couldn’t she just ask her sister to be a better human? I actually think she encouraged Ayoola’s evil ways by constantly cleaning up after her. How on earth was Ayoola so carefree and comfortable with doing the things she did—killing someone then playing music, snapchatting the next minute? Ayoola’s whole demeanor was really a turn-off for me. I mean it would have made sense if Ayoola had been a hardcore criminal or some social psychopath on the loose. But she wasn’t. So I struggled with understanding her character. I just found it all annoying. And I kept hoping for some kind of punishment for both sisters if not just Ayoola but none came till the very end. I guess it does happen in real life that people do bad stuff and get away with it so I can understand where Ms Braithwaite was coming from but I still hated it. It pissed me off!
If you ask me, this book is a 3.5 ⭐⭐⭐💫. Aside me not liking how the plot and character development went, there were valuable themes raised in the book. To a good extent, this book highlighted the strong ties between siblings and the lengths we can go for family. Themes such as friendship, sisterhood, family ties, love, abuse and relationships were explored. This book is not a badly written book, so I hope no one gets me wrong. I know how hard authors work to give us the content they give us and I always try my best to appreciate them when they do a good job. I only hoped Ms Braithwaite would have taken a few more pages to develop the characters more. I think in her bid to keep it short and fast-paced, some things were left flat and that didn’t help the story either. Other than that, it’s a lovely piece of work and I still recommend that if you like the plot, you read it for yourself. Who knows, you might end up enjoying it more than I did.
Whew… that was one long review. If you were able to read up till this point, you’re a real one and I appreciate you!❤️ Thank you so much for sticking with me. I hope to come your way with more reviews soon. However, if you have read the book too, let me know how you felt about it in the comments section. If there are any books you’d like me to review, you can also suggest it in the comments. Thank you and have a nice day!
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