Set in Nigeria, whenever Ayoola kills her boyfriends she calls her older sister, Korede, to clean up her mess. Korede always jumps to her rescue because family always comes first.
That is until Ayoola starts dating the doctor at the hospital where Korede works.
The same doctor that Korede is in love with.
Korede is forced to choose.
Her sister or the man she loves?
Another book. Another review.
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite draws you in from the title alone.
Your sister is a murderer. Your little sister even. I have a little sister of my own and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for her. As the older sibling you feel somewhat responsible for the younger ones.
Which is why I found myself debating what I would do in this situation.
What I really liked was the depth that she went into about Nigerian culture. It was sad reading about the corruption and how that means a lack of justice for those who deserve it. I mean, I’m well aware I’m judging this based off a fictional novel so I know Nigeria might not be exactly like this.
But I thought it was really interesting all the same.
This is definitely a perfect read for those who like thrillers but aren’t keen avid readers. The writing style is lovely and makes the book easy to read.
I felt like the storyline was great. I loved how she explored sibling relationship. It wasn’t a fairy tale relationship between the two sisters. They fought. Korede was openly jealous of Ayoola. But you could tell their bond was so much deeper that it didn’t matter how often they disagreed, Korede would always be there Ayoola.
Which I think most sisters can agree with.
In the beginning, you can tell there isn’t much Korede wouldn’t do for Ayoola. But the guilt that plays on her mind and soul, made me constantly doubt if it was worth it.
Her obsession with cleaning gave me serious Lady Macbeth vibes.
And because of this, I was convinced I knew how the story ended.
So I was really surprised when I finished the novel.
I felt like Braithwaite did it deliberately because she knew her readers would be expecting a different kind of ending. So, I really did appreciate the twist.
But I still felt so much more could have been done with this novel. I could see the potential for an incredible thriller.
So although, I liked the twist. I was a little disappointed by it.
But maybe that’s my own judgement because I had such high hopes judging by the title. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great novel but I just felt it could have been more thriller-ish? If that’s a word.
But then again, I think the main focus was the relationship between Ayoola and Korede.
Personally, I had to admire Korede’s patience. Maybe that’s something that comes with being a nurse. Personally, I would have cussed out Ayoola time ago.
Then the author started to reveal why Ayoola was the way she was.
Which was so devastating.
So I understood in a way. I began to even question if that was my sister and I, would I do the same?
But I think that’s the point. Maybe she wanted to look at a relationship between two sisters and discuss at what point does it move from ‘sisterly love/family bond’ to assisted murder or feeling like you’re obligated to help your family member because you share the same blood?
Because, as Braithwaite makes very clear, we all bleed.
So, do we make excuses for those that we share the same genetics with, even if they do the wrong thing, simply because they’re family?
At what point do we accept that the lines are blurred and start to try fix what’s already broken?
I wish I could tell you the answer because genuinely, I have no idea.
Because that’s the thing. When someone has allowed to get away with something for so long, it becomes very difficult to break that vicious cycle.
Is it even our job to do it? Or is it something they need to come to terms with themselves?
There’s a saying that “you can’t help those that don’t want help”.
But does that apply here or does the fact you are family eradicate that simple saying?
Because as we can see from this novel, family can be toxic. It’s also the first love you ever witness. Most of us base our preconceptions of life from the family structure we have witnessed growing up.
And in Ayoola and Korede’s case, family was clearly the worst kind of love.
Arguably, they didn’t know any better. They had spent so long in survival mode that they didn’t know how to switch it off.
Sometimes, it’s not even about switching off survival mode. I understand that. It’s clearly needed in some cases. And maybe it’s naïve for me to believe that if Korede was just honest with herself, she could have been honest with everyone else around her, including her sister.
In all honesty, it all seems very complex. There were clear deep-rooted issues that made it difficult to simply attribute Korede and Ayoola’s problems down to honesty.
However, personally, what I took from this novel is that sometimes if you love someone you need to be honest with them. Even if it means they may not like it. Even if you feel like they may hate you for a while.
Babying individuals because they’re younger or not as intellectually or morally advanced won’t help them in the long run.
However, if you choose not to say anything and try to help them run away from their problems, you have to accept that you have also played apart.
And in the case of Korede, just how far are you really willing to go with that?