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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite

Set in present-day Lagos, Nigeria, this deliciously dark comedy is a tale of two sisters. Our narrator is Korede: responsible big sister, not considered attractive, used to protecting her sister and cleaning up her mess. Then we have Ayoola: spoiled brat of a little sister, reckless, used to getting what she wants, drop dead gorgeous, has caused three boyfriends to drop dead. Korede is torn even as she helps to cover up the murders out of sisterly duty, but when Ayoola starts dating a man she's secretly been pining for, she is forced to make a choice.

At first glance Ayoola is a character that is easy to hate. Selfish and callous, she gets a pass at life just because she's beautiful. Her behavior might even make some readers think she's possibly a psychopath. Meanwhile life hasn't been fair to Korede. As an older sister she feels and is expected to be responsible for Ayoola, all while being constantly sidelined as the unpretty sibling. But their shared history conceals a darkness underneath, and we get a few more surprises along the way.

The satirical slant gives a clue that this story is not meant to be taken too seriously as a thriller or crime novel. It also provides some biting commentary on male-female relations and social class in Nigeria. A super fun and quick read, I finished this in three days which is unheard of for me in recent years. Would I have protected my sister like Korede if I were in her position? Luckily I don't have to make that decision since my little sister is not a psychopathic murderer — not that I know of.