My Rating: 4 stars
While I’ve read some Nigerian fiction before, it has all been literary fiction for school. My Sister, the Serial Killer is the first book by a Nigerian author that I’ve picked up just for fun. And damn was it fun! Korede realizes that her sister now qualifies as a serial killer while helping Ayoola dispose of the third boyfriend she’s murdered. But it’s not as if she can go to the police; that’s her little sister, and she would be considered an accomplice. I loved Korede’s first person narration. Braithwaite slowly peels back Korede’s layers for the reader to get a full view of her as a character by the end. In addition to the time frame of the story, we also get flashbacks into Korede’s childhood to see how both her and her sister came to be the way they are.
The strongest part of the book is the relationship between Korede and Ayoola. I love stories with complex relationships between siblings, especially sisters, and this one is most certainly complicated. Korede has a whole jumble of different feelings regarding Ayoola: love, resentment, jealousy, anger, and a fierce protectiveness. Due to all this, I never knew really knew what step Korede would take next. Ayoola’s feelings are equally fascinating. Because we don’t get her point of view, I was never sure if she was manipulating Korede or acting out of genuine love, trying to hurt her or just completely unaware of others’ emotions. I loved it!
I listened to this on audiobook, and I personally think that’s the perfect way to experience it. It is read by Adepero Oduye, who does a marvelous job. She truly captures Korede’s voice and emotions. As someone from the USA, I’m unfamiliar with Nigerian names and the various languages used there. English is the official language and the one the book is written in, but there are more spoken there, at least one of which Braithwaite frequently includes. It really helped to hear how names are supposed to be pronounced instead of just muddling through on my own. Plus it’s such an engaging story that it kept me wide awake on my early morning commute!
I did feel that the ending is a little anti-climatic. The entire book is building up whether Ayoola will try to kill the doctor she begins dating, what Korede is going to do about it, and if Ayoola will get caught. And it’s a great build up! The tension had me at the edge of my seat. But the ending felt very quick and the resolution rushed. The climax was over before I could even begin to worry about it. I would have liked Braithwaite to draw it out a little bit longer to match with her excellent build up toward it.
Overall, My Sister, the Serial Killer is an incredibly fun thriller about a twisted relationship between two sisters. It’s worth the read, and I highly recommend the audiobook.