What better way to kick off Spooktober than with a book about a serial killer? Even though it’s not spooky or supernatural, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite was quite welcome in this month’s repertoire. With its dark humor and quippy tone, this contemporary noir novel was right up my alley… not to mention, it’s a short, fast read!
I think the title just about says it all, but in case you’re wanting a little more substance to your summary: this book follows Korede, a nurse in Lagos, Nigeria, whose younger sister Ayoola has a “bad habit” of killing her boyfriends. Each time the sordid deed occurs, Ayoola phones Korede to help her clean up the mess–and when the book begins, Ayoola has just offed her third man, officially classifying her as a serial killer.
Even though Korede realizes her sister has some violent tendencies, she still feels responsible for protecting her little sister, as she’s done all her life. But when Ayoola catches the eye of the handsome doctor Korede is secretly in love with, she has to figure out a way to prevent him from being her sister’s next victim.
Of course, I continue to insist on trying my hand at booktube, so I highly recommend you check out my video review. But in case you prefer the written word, here is a brief summary of my thoughts:
Overall, I had a great time reading this. The wry, ironic humor, the vignette-style storytelling with short, minimalistic scenes, the underlying social commentary–it all wove itself together very well and made for an engaging read.
However, my main critique is that, believe it or not, it felt almost too short. I wouldn’t have been opposed to fifty extra pages, because by the end, I felt like the book kind of jumped to a conclusion, so to speak. I wanted to see more of Korede’s character development. She was so complicit yet conflicted in the beginning, and I wish some of those threads got teased out a bit more.
I didn’t necessarily love the ending, either, but I understood why it ended the way it did. I chalk it up to this story having something very specific to say, whereas I, as the reader, wanted a certain kind of conclusion.
In general, I enjoyed this first foray into the noir novel genre. The moral ambiguity and dark comedy is definitely something I can get behind, especially with a story as tight and compact as this. Definitely recommend to anyone who likes the genre! I was also reminded at points of Dexter, so if you’re a fan of that show, you might find this interesting, too!
Have you read My Sister, The Serial Killer? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!
Featured image copyright npr.org