My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Song Pairing: “My Body” by Lemin Listen Here / 2019 HELLO YELLOW REVIEWS PLAYLIST (Spotify) –  Listen Here / 2019 HELLO YELLOW REVIEWS Playlist (Apple)

How far does the love between sisters stretch? Can it span the length of several murders, a few hasty cover-ups, an unrequited love and a thousand little betrayals? For responsible, overburdened Korede, sisterhood is a unique challenge which requires alibis and a lot of bleach.  

Her sister Ayoola, spoiled and selfish, lacks the empathy to carry on human relationships. It seems whenever she tires of a man, Korede gets the phone call in the middle of the night–the breathy, fake panic, “Sister, I need your help.”  

Ayoola is beautiful. She shines like a movie star, the most gorgeous woman to ever walk into the hospital in Nigeria where Korede works as the head nurse. The handsome young doctor Korede has been smitten with for ages takes one look at her sister Ayoola and finds his destined match. This could turn out to be a very generic sibling rivalry over the heart of a man, had these sisters not a terrifying secret. Ayoola is a serial killer.

I am infatuated with “bad” women, but Ayoola is something else entirely. She lies and kills, taking self-absorbed breaks only to pose for Instagram photos in between missing boyfriends, but she’s somehow completely woke. She understands that there’s something inherently wrong with a society that deems beautiful people immune to being evil. Ayoola sets out to prove Korede’s handsome doctor is merely another cad in a long line of cads, only interested in Ayoola for her looks. She toys with him in front of Korede’s face, mistreating him like all the others, but the doctor trails after her like a man possessed. But when she gets bored of that game, Korede knows what will happen next. Can she prevent her sister from murdering the one man she truly loves?

Braithwaite writes a satirical family drama unlike anything I’ve ever read. I related so strongly to Korede’s neverending need to be needed, in spite of the enduring pain her family causes. How can you escape your own family? And where would you escape to?

“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.’ ”

-Oyinkan Braithewaite, My Sister The Serial Killer

This is a definite must-read for anyone who loves modern fiction, expert satire, engaging prose and ethical dilemmas. Braithewaite is so talented and I can’t wait to read whatever she concocts next.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  1. “She understands that there’s something inherently wrong with a society that deems beautiful people immune to being evil.” But isn’t it also the theory that beautiful / powerful people are the enemy? They’re evil in just about every movie you see. But then again… people say Ted was beautiful don’t they.

    1. I’d say we tear movie stars apart for their good looks, but when you see an attractive person at a gas station you’re more likely to give them a ride than someone who looks unappealing. Pretty people are virtuous, it’s why looking good means something in our society. Wow even if that phrase, “looking good” there’s a mora component to physicality. Bananas.

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