My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite tells the story of two sisters, Korede and Ayoola, who couldn’t be more different. Korede is sensible, responsible, and works as a nurse in a Lagos hospital. Ayoola is flighty, narcissist, charismatic, and a serial killer.
The story begins with Ayoola killing yet another of her boyfriends and, in a panic, calling Korede to help her clean up the mess. Korede doesn’t approve of Ayoola’s actions but taking care of her little sister is such a part of her life that she doesn’t even consider not helping her dispose of the body, lay low, and try to act innocent in the aftermath. But Ayoola already has her eye on her next lover – Korede’s co-worker and secret crush, Tade.
The story is pretty simple, and Braithwaite’s style is clear and accessible. There are clear lines of conflict – will Ayoola’s crimes catch up with her, will Korede confess her feelings for Tade and save him from Ayoola’s clutches, will the two sisters ever be able to break free from each other? Although I was immediately intrigued by the core concept, I found myself wishing for more depth and nuance in the way the story was handled. Ayoola’s need to murder the men in her life was loosely linked to their abusive father, but not in a very meaningful or surprising way. Korede’s need to protect her sister is such a compulsion that I wanted some more exploration of exactly why she continued to act in such a way for a person who clearly cared about no one but herself.
The characters’ narcissism was another issue. Ayoola had no redeeming qualities to show why Korede continually bent over backwards to accommodate her, but similarly Korede had very few endearing qualities. Her crush on Tade seemed pretty shallow, and her inner monologue was full of constant scorn for the people around her. As a result it was difficult to care about either sister when they seemed equally boring and distasteful characters.
All in all, it was an interesting concept with no exceptional faults. I just wish the author had gone deeper into the unique story she had created.
© 2020 Nic James
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Nic James thinks too much and always talks over movies.