Women’s Prize Review- My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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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…

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“Words. Ayoola summons me with these words, “Korede, I killed him.” I had hoped I would never hear those words again.”

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My Sister, the Serial Killer was not at all what I was expecting, and I loved it all the more for that reason. I think marketing this book as a thriller and comparing it to Dexter does both the book and the reader a disservice. Don’t get me wrong, Dexter is one of my favourite shows, but that is not what this is. There are thriller elements to it but the reader is pretty much in the know the entire time. The murders are a very small part of the story.

Korede was a much more interesting character, in my opinion, even though she herself is not the serial killer. The book raises an interesting question about morality and what we would do to protect the ones we love. Having the book told from Korede’s perspective was a brilliant choice and I appreciated being inside her head. I wish she would have made some different choices, but that is what makes this book so interesting. It is amazing, while also being completely frustrating. I love when a book can bring out such a mix of emotions in me.

I also thought that the book touched on some interesting themes about society and the privileges afforded to attractive people who may not deserve them. I have seen some people say that they are tired of the trope of the unattractive character being jealous of their pretty sister, which is valid, but I thought it worked in this case. It almost felt satirical in many ways.

I have come to the realization that this is the type of “thriller” that I enjoy. It is subtle and more character driven. It is not full of twist and turns, but it is an interesting character study. This is not a book that will be for every one, but at only 226 pages I truly think it is worth giving a shot.

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Yes, but do not be fooled by the marketing. Go in to this one knowing that it is nothing like Dexter. This is not your normal thriller full of twists and turns. It is more of a character study and a look at what people will do to protect the ones they love.

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24 thoughts on “Women’s Prize Review- My Sister, the Serial Killer

  1. It’s one I look forward to reading. Everyone says it’s great, so I’m curious. I’ve never watched Dexter and haven’t been paying attention to the marketing, so that won’t affect me much.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This sounds like a really interesting concept. I like the idea of the book exploring the morality of protecting the ones you love rather than focusing so much on the actual murders. Nice review!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh wow, I didn’t realize this book was so short! I don’t watch Dexter so that comparison didn’t make a difference to me anyway, but I love the idea of character-driven thrillers so that’s a good sign I’ll enjoy this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Literary Elephant

    Great review! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, it’s been one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I was also pleasantly surprised by the ways it did not quite fit its marketing, and I loved the commentary woven in. Such a compelling little book!

    Liked by 1 person

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