Monday, 5 August 2019
#CBR11 Book 61: "My Sister, the Serial Killer" by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Rating: 4 stars
#CBR11 Bingo: Pajiba (reviewed by Kayleigh here)
Official book description:
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.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they're perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
This is not a mystery novel. It says right there in the title what the book is about. While Korede, our protagonist, tries to figure out the WHYs of the three men her young sister Ayoola has killed so far (until she calls Korede after the third time, Korede could at least pretend to herself that her sister just had very bad luck with men and had killed the first two in self defense), there is no question of WHO or HOW.
Korede may seem constantly frustrated by her younger sister, and at times rather jealous of her, but there is no doubt about the love the sisters share, or the harrowing upbringing that forged their relationship. Korede would clearly like a good man who loves her, but when the doctor she pines for falls for Ayoola after one brief meeting and becomes just as obsessed as the previous suitors, it becomes clear that he's really not looking for depth and personality and is no where near good enough a partner for Korede, really.
The novel is short and satirical and a lot of people a lot more clever than I have already talked about the way it challenges gender roles, beauty ideals and the like in modern day Nigeria. It's certainly very feminist, none of the men in the story come across particularly well, with the possible exception of Femi, but he's dead as the story begins. I thought this was an interesting portrayal of a very close, but complex sibling relationship. Korede keeps despairing that she needs to take care of her sister and (literally) clean up her messes, but for all her doubts, she keeps showing up and her loyalty to her sister trumps anything else in her life. She may feel frustrated that Ayoola have men falling for her and women clambering to be friends with her, just because of her looks and charm, while Korede works hard (even gets promoted to head nurse) and inhabits a lot of the virtues and skills a perfect wife should have, but keeps being ignored and overlooked. Nevertheless, she can't give up on her sister.The ending of the book, which almost seemed inevitable, made me rather sad.
This book has been reviewed by many Cannonballers already, and on the basis of several of those recommendations, I got the book in an e-book sale back in April. It seemed only suitable that I find a square for it somewhere on the Bingo card. I didn't love it as much as many have, but I thought it was funny and clever and it's such a very fast read.
Judging a book by its cover: I like the cover, with its contrast between the warm browns and the bright, almost neon green. I don't know if the rather elegant-looking woman on the cover is meant to be Korede or Ayoola, but she looks good.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.