Summary and book reviews of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer

by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite X
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
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  • Published:
    Nov 2018, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book

Book Summary

A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

"Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer."

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she's exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she's willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite's deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

Words

Ayoola summons me with these words—Korede, I killed him.

I had hoped I would never hear those words again.


Bleach

I bet you didn’t know that bleach masks the smell of blood. Most people use bleach indiscriminately, assum­ing it is a catchall product, never taking the time to read the list of ingredients on the back, never taking the time to return to the recently wiped surface to take a closer look. Bleach will disinfect, but it’s not great for cleaning residue, so I use it only after I have first scrubbed the bathroom of all traces of life, and death.

It is clear that the room we are in has been remod­eled recently. It has that never-been-used look, especially now that I’ve spent close to three hours cleaning up. The hardest part was getting to the blood that had seeped in between the shower and the caulking. It’s an easy part to forget.

There’s nothing placed on any of the surfaces; his shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste are all...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

As a character study, My Sister, the Serial Killer is captivating. Korede is being squeezed in a vise of uncertainty as her loyalty and morality are put to the ultimate test. However, with so much focus on the narrator, the secondary characters are barely sketched in. This lack of development is particularly discernible with regard to Ayoola. Given no access to her mind or details about her personality, one wonders what makes her tick, and how she feels about the things she has done. Guilty? Justified? Who knows. The sisters' backstory includes a hint at motive, but it would have been nice to know more. Nevertheless, Braithewaite has constructed a taut narrative, rich in psychological intrigue with just enough dark humor to break the tension.   (Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Full Review Members Only (562 words).

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
This slim, scathingly black comedy delves into two sisters' tenuous dynamic - heightened since one of them is, erm, a serial killer. Such morbidity only sharpens the book's comic edge, which emerges via Braithwaite's deadpan prose.

Buzzfeed
You can't help flying through the pages, drawn in by the energy simmering right under the surface of the story, waiting for it to burst.

Nylon
This riveting, brutally hilarious, ultra-dark novel is an explosive debut by Oyinkan Braithwaite, and heralds an exciting new literary voice… Delicious.

Library Journal
A portrait of a dysfunctional family at its finest, this novel shows just how far one woman will go to keep her family safe, even if it costs her everything.

Booklist
A darkly, darkly funny novel...It strips away the romanticism of the complicated sisterly relationship but perfectly illustrates its complicated contradictions.

Kirkus Reviews
Even your most extravagant speculations about what's really going on with these wildly contrasting yet oddly simpatico siblings will be trumped in this skillful, sardonic debut.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Braithwaite's blazing debut is as sharp as a knife...bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place.

Author Blurb Helen Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of American Housewife
Who is more dangerous? A femme fatale murderess or the quiet, plain woman who cleans up her messes? I never knew what was going to happen, but found myself pulling for both sisters, as I relished the creepiness and humor of this modern noir.

Author Blurb Ayobami Adebayo, author of Stay With Me
Disturbing, sly and delicious, Braithwaite's novel compels us to consider the limits of loyalty and the insidious weight of silence.

Author Blurb Edgar Cantero, New York Times bestselling author of Meddling Kids
A gem, in the most accurate sense: small, hard, sharp, and polished to perfection. Every pill-sized chapter is exemplary. Where others waste ink and trees, Braithwaite can conjure fully-detailed settings and characters with a finger snap. Of these, all shine. One dazzles. Tell Shirley Jackson that the Merricat Blackwood of the 21st century lives in Lagos, her name is Ayoola, and she is so obliviously/adorably/hilariously/heartbreakingly wicked, she'll make you cry tears of all flavors.

Author Blurb Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew and Ways to Disappear
Sly, risky, and filled with surprises, Oyinkan Braithwaite holds nothing back in this wry and refreshingly inventive novel about violence, sister rivalries and simply staying alive.

Reader Reviews

Tammy Tudor

Thrilling and exciting! Excellent read
From the moment I heard the buzz that surrounds this book I had to read it to find out if it was really as good as almost everyone was saying that it was! I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but it really drew me in and knew this would be...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Sibling Rivalry in Literature

Three Sisters of King LearIn My Sister, the Serial Killer, the narrator Korede protects her younger sister Ayoola at great cost, despite her feelings of bitterness that Ayoola has always been favored by their mother and admired everywhere for her beauty. Sibling rivalry has long been a source of inspiration for conflict in great literature.

Here are a few popular titles about sibling conflict (but be forewarned, there may be some plot spoilers):

Shakespeare explored this subject in King Lear, a tragedy about a mad king who demands his daughters compete to show him love in order to win a heftier share of the kingdom when he dies. His youngest daughter Cordelia refuses to flatter her father with exaggerated declarations of affection and is consequently banished...

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