Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

RATING: 3.8/5


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…

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…


I decided to take a break from the fantasy genre and literary fiction is always my first choice as a “short getaway”. This is a relatively easy and fast read (as I finished this book in 2 days with my slow reading speed as compared to other book reviewers out there). I understand that this was Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel and was long-listed for the Women’s Prize For Fiction 2019 Award. And I think it totally deserves to be long-listed for this award.

At first, upon reading the synopsis of this story, I had the impression that this book will ended up being a typical crime thriller story but I was wrong. It was much more than that. Oyinkan Braithwaite managed to instill so many issues and values in this book: the corrupted justice system in Nigeria, the impact of social media (references were made to SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook throughout the story), women being objectified by men, women being subservient to men, domestic abuse, jealousy and sisterhood. It was indeed a dark humor novel with these issues being instilled throughout the story by starting off with a murder incident committed by Ayoola (Korede’s younger sister) due to “self-defense”.

This story was told from the point of view of Korede. Oyinkan Braithwaite managed to capture the typical “big sister being jealous of the youngest sister who gets all the attention from everyone” mentality in a family via Korede’s character. The extreme attitudes of both sisters were also brilliantly brought out: Korede, an anti-social nurse, whereas Ayoola, a “social butterfly”. Flashbacks (in relation to Korede’s relationship with her family, especially her father) were constantly introduced in different chapters and all these flashbacks were then beautifully intertwined together which brought out the reason why Korede is being so protective of her sister Ayoola.

Another thing that stands out in this novel is Oyinkan Braithwaite’s writing style. Simple and short. Sometimes simplicity is still the best. I think the chapters in this book are not more than 7 or 10 pages. And although its simple and short, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s still did not fail to bring out the important messages to her readers.

Overall, I enjoyed this work. The reason for the 3.8 star rating is because its a debut novel and I want to see the growth of Oyinkan Braithwaite as an author in her future works!

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