Published: November 20, 2018
My Rating: 2/5
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…
This one popped up everywhere! And I mean EVERYWHERE! The hype was so real and I got swayed.
Unfortunate for me.
I found this book unmemorable. Even while reading it, I kept thinking, ‘what’s her name again?’, or ‘oh yeah – that dude.’ There just wasn’t much there that kept me rapt or in belief of Ayoola’s psychopathic tendencies or her sister’s flip-flopping jealousies and momma-hen loyalty. The premise of My Sister, The Serial Killer is attractive enough. (Come on, the name alone stirs intrigue). Oyinkan Braithwaite’s novel tracks the lives of two sisters as they navigate the trials of dating, family and the etiquette of covering up crime scenes.
Ok, ok, I’m being sassy. But really. These characters, (even for sociopaths), were just the worst. One sister’s entitled, actually psychotic and prefers a good stabbing to old-fashioned dumping, and the other is the strange dichotomy of a stabby enabler and resentful big sister. And I have no gripes with an unlikeable character, or 5 – sometimes the unlikeability of a character is the drug of a book. You read on and on because you’re so enamored with the awfulness of them. But that wasn’t the case here – with My Sister, The Serial Killer I was just annoyed. The women were manipulative and petty and the men shamefully one-dimensional. I understand Braithwaite’s embellishment of society’s vanity, but there was an uncanny amount of irrelevancy to these characters and their arcs.
It felt as though the writing style could have been brilliant for the book I had been anticipating to read – something cryptic, full of dark humor and salacious intent. Not this weirdly unremarkable story that didn’t let itself become fully facetted. Admittedly, I finished it up in a day or two and that means something kept me interested enough, but I also attribute the quickness to its shallow nature – there wasn’t much hard-hitting stuff here.
It wasn’t all bad though. The writing itself wasn’t bad. There were moments of clever foreshadowing and I enjoyed Braithwaite’s ability to slip into that darker prose with the perfect amount of attention fed to detailing. But all in all, it just sort of let me down. I love clipped prose and this premise could have been so sophisticated alongside that style, but I felt the execution wasn’t there. It’s a read that’s left me feeling pretty ‘meh’. I guess I’m glad I read it to satisfy the curiosity behind the hype, but otherwise, it’s not one I’ll really recall months from now.