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My Sister, the Serial Killer

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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...

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker - and more difficult to get out of the carpet - than water...

226 pages, Hardcover

First published July 17, 2018

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About the author

Oyinkan Braithwaite

7 books3,835 followers
OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, a Nigerian publishing house, and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 28,757 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,069 reviews38.2k followers
September 25, 2022
OMG! This is dark! This is incredibly funny, entertaining! This is wild! This is incredibly smart, sarcastic and sardonic! Why did I wait too long? (Bang! Bang! Bang! Nope, I didn’t hit my head against the wall, this time my husband practiced his squash training with my head using oranges! I think I’m going to punch him so bad after his practice’s finishing!)

So let’s take a look at this provocative, unique, mind bending and hilarious crime story.

Korede, antisocial nurse, only feeling comfortable to hang around the comatose patients has a beautiful, self-absorbed sister Ayoola who also has a unique flaw like killing people and getting away with them with them. She kills and sister comes to clean the mess. Ayoola killed third times (as a charm) and she insisted that all of these men tried to harm her, rape her blabla so what she’s done for three times was self-defense!!! Look at this innocent girl suffering from bad dating experience but interestingly there is no wound, scar in her body to prove the wrongdoings of those guys.

You know blood is thicker than water and family always comes first so Korede cleaned her sister’s mess and acted like she believed in her.( I liked her inner thoughts and way of thinking which made me captivated! )

And poor Korede has a long time crush to Tade, charming doctor. But here we go, the killer ( or poor sister who always makes the worst boyfriend choices) decides to visit her sister in her work place and Tade looks like he has a crush on her. ( Oh hell! Poor Korede, what are you gonna do now? Do you insist to choose your family over your love interest?)
Of course normally Korede becomes jealous, angry, resented because even they were little, she gets the blame on for all wrongdoings of her little sister. Ayoola always takes her way because she is the beautiful one. Who believes in awkward sister suffering from mental problems?

This is the pattern of their dysfunctional relationship. Now is she going to let her sister hurt the one man she’s obsessed with?

Let’s get our popcorn and bring out refreshments to read the end of the story. It’s getting darker and more quirky, absurd, entertaining at each moment.

I enjoyed THE AMAZING, REMARKABLE CHARACTER BUILDING.

I loved the intriguing, riveting, fast pace.

I loved the purpose of the book makes us question so many important things in our lives such as family, sisterhood bounding, social media.

It was fantastic, promising debut novel fits with my entire expectations and my dark sense of sarcastic humor. I truly LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Cannot wait to read more works of the author!

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Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 122 books155k followers
October 24, 2018
Clever novel about two sisters, one of whom is a serial killer, the other the resentful, yearning enabler. The satirical bent works really well here because it walks that fine line of being, given the contretemps, entirely plausible. Interesting observations about social media, men and what they want, and women who see right through them. Well worth a read.
Profile Image for Julie .
3,976 reviews58.9k followers
January 20, 2019
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a 2018 Doubleday Books publication.

Genius!

That provocative title and amazing cover art certainly piques one's curiosity. Noticing all the positive reactions the book received, I just had to see for myself if it was worth all the kudos.

Well, I have to say, this is my kind of book!! Seriously, I really, really, really love satire and dark humor. I do understand it is often an acquired taste, but it takes a special kind of creativity and balance to pull it off. Dark humor and satire are often very subtle and if you aren’t in on the joke, it can sail right over your head. It requires a little more effort, from the reader, too, on occasion, and that is the case with this book.

Family is supposed to help one another out, right?

Set in Nigeria, amid a corrupt system of law and order, Korede is forever coming to the aid of her beautiful, but kooky, younger sister, Ayoola, who has a bad habit of killing her boyfriends. She always claims self-defense, but she’s never injured, and her conscience never seems to suffer.

Korede, is a borderline, antisocial nurse, more comfortable around her comatose patient, to whom she bears her soul, than with anyone else. She has a crush on Tade, a doctor she works closely with. However, when Ayoola shows up at the hospital to visit her sister, Tade is immediately smitten with her. So, not only is Korede hurt emotionally, with her sister’s history with men to consider, this development is quite troubling.

Deep down, Korede is angry, jealous of her beautiful, favored sister, but she always comes to her rescue. Ayoola is self-absorbed, flaunting her beauty, and appears not to notice the stress and strain she causes Korede.

Both sisters are flawed, with abominable character traits, but at the same time, they both managed to, inconceivably, elicit sympathy from me. The author creates a unique brand of suspense, an ever- present sense of dread, while toying with the readers' emotions. The social commentary could be at the core of the story, perhaps playing a key role in the sisters’ pathos.

“I cannot imagine her resorting to stabbing if that particular knife were not in her hand; almost as if it were the knife and not her that was doing the killing. But then, is that so hard to believe? Who is to say that an object does not come with its own agenda? Or that the collective agenda of its previous owners does not direct its purpose still?”

There’s much to ponder on in this amazing debut novel. Kordede’s stoic inner thoughts stole the show for me, though. The story is meant to be dark, meant to be taken seriously, but so sardonic, it is morbidly funny at times.

But, one thing is for certain, this author has done an incredible job creating these wickedly entertaining characters, adding rich layers to the story, while keeping the prose pointed and sharp, even minimal, and still manages to add the rarity of humor into the mix with perfect balance and poise. I simply could not tear my eyes off the pages. It is also a rarity for me to say I liked a book better than I thought I would, but this one caught me completely off guard.

Overall, I am mightily impressed with this stunning, but unsettling debut, and yes, it deserves the kudos
Profile Image for elena ❀  .
252 reviews2,613 followers
April 3, 2021
She killed him on the first strike, a jab straight to the heart. But then she stabbed him twice more to be sure. He sank to the floor. She could hear her own breathing and nothing else.


A line like that is enough to grip the reader and their attention into a disturbing read of a serial killer and her sister. Being transported to Nigeria, where the sister of a nurse has just called her letting her know she has killed another one of her boyfriends is, without a doubt, something disturbing I would be up for reading. Unfortunately, the plot of that took a different turn and did not live to its praise. I strongly feel like I'm on the minority here, but the author did not manage to make me laugh at the "humor" and I did not find anything disturbing, besides the beginning.

Oyinkan Braithwaite starts off the book in an effective way. We meet Korede, who is a nurse, caring for her patients, in charge of other nurses, and is pretty fond of cleaning up after the mess of her sister, who has killed two of her boyfriends. When she is interrupted one night by her sister, she knows what it's about: her sister has killed another boyfriend, Femi. She didn't know much about him, besides the fact that he wrote poetry and was with Korede's sister, Ayoola, for one month. Korede is, of course, on her way to her sister to clean up the mess. With the practice she had with Ayoola's other boyfriends, Korede can dispose of the body of Femi, clean up the room, and make it seem like nothing ever happened for there to be no suspicion. Set up with bleach, gloves, soap, brushes, and other equipment, Korede wants her sister to stop, but she's her sister, after all, so she needs to lean on her side. That is until Ayoola begins a relationship with the doctor Korede herself has had a crush on for a long time.

See, Ayoola and Korede are dramatically different. Ayoola is flirtatious, witty, and is known as the beauty of the family, and she knows it. She can walk into a room where everyone will lay their eyes on her, whereas Korede is more dedicated to her work, has not been in a relationship, and is not like her sister: curvaceous with luscious hair, getting what she wants when she wants it.

When Tade asks Ayoola for her sister's number, she can't feel anything but anger and jealousy. As she tries her best to hide it, she fakes her happiness and smiles, and although sometimes her rudeness is apparent, she continues her work as a nurse, even when the most unexpected turn of events come into play. Unknown who to talk to, Korede feels close to a patient who has been in a coma for a very long time now, expected to die one day. His family has not visited him in a long time, so Korede feels like its right for her to care for him since no one else will. Although this patient is in a coma, Korede didn't expect him to remember everything she has told him, including the darkest secret she is hiding from everyone.

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 Braithwaite started the novel strongly. The title itself is exciting and something a thriller fan would want to pick up. On another note, there are a few tiny things I can point out that Oyinkan did well. For example, although the novel is very short, little, and each chapter's pacing is quick, she gives us enough information to understand the reasons behind the actions of both sisters, Ayoola and Korede. Through flashbacks and memories recalled and told by Korede, we learn a little about how their father was, what their mother went through, and how all three survived those tough times. Some of Ayoola's actions such as being flirty and a selfish beauty at times, we learn that she became like this due to some of the trauma she received when she was little. Korede, on the other hand, always helped her sister and looked out for her, which is why she always feels like she needs to be the older sister.

I personally think the author did a good job of portraying the flaws of the family, especially the sisters. When you have a sibling, the moments of comparison always rise. Personally, I would always follow my brother, being a little follower and helper, always looking up to him. I thought he was the greatest and smartest person out there. Ayoola and Korede are like this, and it's shown a lot. Korede constantly gets jealous and angry, and that is something that is common around siblings. Aside from Korede, it was also obvious that Ayoola needed her sister, and not only to clean up her mess. Although Ayoola's personality got in my nerves a lot, I can see why else she would need her older sister. She was the younger one, but she was also being saved by Korede, and she would always be the one blamed for everything. With that being said, this was the only thing I actually liked about the book. Although there are a couple of other things I didn't like, related to the sisters, the flaws felt real and refreshing, especially because we got to see why this family is basically unable to communicate with each other.

The book is labeled as a disturbing thriller, but there is nothing thrilling nor disturbing in this. It felt like I was just reading out of pure boredom. Said to be disturbing, the novel does nothing but disturb you in the beginning. The title and synopsis can also be quite misleading. We know that Ayoola has killed before, and when she calls her sister for help, we know that this is her third boyfriend that she has killed. Not to be a violent person, but after reading that, I really thought there was going to be more violence. I really thought Ayoola was going to be a serial killer/assassin/murderer. I think the fantasy has gotten to me...

Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer


I think what bothered me the most from this was how I thought this would be a thriller, but there is nothing teeth-shattering and fist-clenching about My Sister, the Serial Killer. I didn't get it, didn't get the satire, the dark humor, the psychological emotions, and feelings. I didn't feel anything towards anyone or anything besides neutrality. In fact, I'm confused as to what about this is actually funny and satirical. Perhaps I missed it after reading out of pure boredom when I was trying to just finish this.

All characters made it to the point where I was actually fist-clenching and teeth-shattering because of how bored and uninterested I was in everything. Both sisters are selfish because they both cared about themselves only. Although it may not seem that way on Korede's perspective, it's noted when she gets angry and jealous over the fact that her sister has begun dating the man she's in love with. On the other hand, Ayoola would only call Korede when she needed her help, show up to her work when she was working, and would always bother her even when it was obvious that Korede wanted nothing from her. The other characters, well, the only one I liked what Muhtar. He was in a coma, but his brain was still proceeding, so he remembered everything that Korede told him. He was sweet, sympathetic and kept her and her sister's secret safe. It was sad to see that the only person who truly cared for him was Korede since his family was also selfish, as they only cared about themselves. Tade was only interested in Ayoola because she was "so beautiful" and that made her special. The mother also praised Ayoola too much, lying, wishing for Tade and Ayoola to get married already. Information from the nurses and workers was unknown, but from what is known, they were all lazy and unproductive compared to Korede.

After all the events, I wish Korede would have had some character development. I wish she had sided with herself instead of her sister. The whole Older sisters look up for their younger sisters was utter bullshit, and I had hoped Korede would have seen that. In the end, Korede made a decision that I think she should have thought through, and I mean, through.

I understand now that My Sister, the Killer is more about sisterhood and who should believe who, but I wish there was more to it. 226 pages were not enough, and the small chapters didn't make it any different. Although this was not something I usually read, I was hoping it would get me on the track of reading something similar, but it failed in doing everything it promised: humoring and shocking me.

She cries for her youth, her missed opportunities and her limited options. She does not cry for me, she cries for herself.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,588 reviews153k followers
December 9, 2020
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The Written Review 3.5 stars
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It’s because she is beautiful, you know. That’s all it is. They don’t really care about the rest of it. She gets a pass at life.
Ayoola, the beautiful, younger sister of Korede, calls her up on night for....what's quickly becoming a disturbing trend.
It takes a whole lot longer to dispose of a body than to dispose of a soul, especially if you don’t want to leave any evidence of foul play.
Ayoola's last three boyfriends have been...well...murdered by her own hand.

At first, Korede was inclined to side with her sister - that these men were intending to harm her, rape her or do far worse - but three times? In such quick succession?

Despite her misgivings, Korede loves her sister. And uses her skills (honed from long hours of cleaning up the hospital as a nurse) to dispose of the dead bodies.

And besides, if she reaches out to anyone, Korede just knows she would be blamed.
That’s how it has always been. Ayoola would break a glass, and I would receive the blame for giving her the drink.
But then one day, Ayoola shows up at Korede's place of work and the doctor - the one that Korede has been crushing on for...forever - begins falling for her sister.

Suddenly Korede will have to decide - the doctor or her sister - and when she picks her side, the other one is doomed.
You can’t sit on the fence forever.
This one had such good elements - Ayoola's casual murder-y-ness and Korede's practical view of things was pretty interesting.

The only thing that threw me out of the book was there seemed to be a tendency to look at things at a surface level - everyone who was in the know was surprisingly cool with the murder-business.

I'm not expecting everyone to have a mental breakdown every few pages, but it felt like there should be SOMETHING by the way of reflection over the matter.

But overall - it was good.

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Profile Image for Felice Laverne.
Author 2 books3,190 followers
February 12, 2020
Femi makes three, you know. Three, and they label you a serial killer.

In case you haven't noticed, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer has been taking the social media scene by storm the past few weeks. And I get it; the cover art is (pardon my pun) killer and the title exudes a certain titillation that will make a reader quickly reach for the book on the shelf. For me, My Sister, the Serial Killer, was an easy, brisk read that I mostly read in one sitting. And I was additionally excited to read it when I realized that the author and I graduated from the same university in England and likely had the same creative writing instructors! The short chapters (some only a few sentences long) created the effect of breezing through the novel at record speed, which is a plus, but it also created a few issues for this narrative.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel follows sisters Ayoola and Korede – Ayoola kills ‘em and Korede cleans ‘em up. But this isn’t just a novel about the boyfriends falling like flies; it’s a novel about the trials and bonds of sisterhood, an exploration of childhood abuse and a would-be love story all wrapped up tightly in the culture of Lagos, Nigeria. Now, that’s a lot to try to cram into 240 (not even full) pages, but it can be done; I’ve even seen it done well. Here, I wasn’t mind-blowingly impressed by the execution (again, couldn’t resist!) of My Sister, the Serial Killer. If you’re a reader who puts a lot of weight on pace, you might find that you’re in for a rather jerky ride with this novel. It flowed neither at a lyrically smooth pace nor at a heart-pounding thriller pace. It just sort of jerked from scene to scene with very little, if any, narrative connective tissue to sew the chapters seamlessly together. In short, while it a had a great plot and an ending that did manage to surprise me, it was not written with a lot of finesse. It read, to me, like a very first draft, not quite filled in enough to give us readers an entire picture. It was like a well-done sketch of artistry that hasn’t yet been filled in with color, like the structure of a building that has not yet been painted and offered windows and balconies.

Now, ONWARD to the pros that you’ll find within these pages, because there are several of those. For one, it was a plus that this novel read so fast. While the plotting was jerky, the pace was quick, and that pulls you in to the story fast as you realize that you’re already so deep into it with so little time spent on it. And one of the real gems of My Sister was how Braithwaite interlaced the heart-pounding narrative of the killings themselves with the humor of said serial killer’s indifference and feigned naiveté:

There is music blasting from Ayoola’s room. She is listening to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” It would be more appropriate to play Brymo or Lourde, something solemn or yearning, rather than the musical equivalent of a pack of M&Ms.


This novel is fully current, with narrative tools and chapter titles like “Instagram.” Ayoola is addicted to SnapChat and Instagram, often being scolded by Korede for posting frivolous updates for her followers when she’s supposed to be mourning her missing boyfriend, whom she herself has killed. Ayoola has forgotten, just that quickly about the fallen men and goes on with her life in a way that baffles her sister – enter The Comedy.

So, while I wished that My Sister, the Serial Killer was better built out as a narrative, there is merit to it as a quick, amusing little read. It all comes down to what you’re looking for on your TBR. If you’re interested in a narrative set in Nigeria, this may be a great pick for you. If you’re looking for lightness and humor, a read you can breeze through easily that still offers some suspense, then you’ve absolutely come to the right place. But, if you’re more in the market for a side of intellectual stimulation with your killer thriller, then you may want to side step this one; you want find a lot of that here. 3 stars. ***

I received an advance-read copy of this book from the publisher, Doubleday, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
525 reviews56.7k followers
November 13, 2020
(2.5?) I'm so torn on how to review this book.

This was part of my "Goodreads Reading Challenge" as one of the nominees in the Thriller/Mystery section.

While unique and interesting, I found it way too short. The audiobook was nice but it felt more like a family drama than a thriller/mystery.
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,324 followers
June 16, 2020
Now, that’s what I call a damn good story!

Wow. Where do I even start?

Firstly, the story, coupled with the setting, alongside the characters, all resonate at a level only a fellow Nigerian would understand. Besides all that, the plot itself is unique, the prose is crisp and evocative; the characters, multilayered. Then there’s that dry sardonic humour that Braithwaite sprinkles throughout the story that made me cackle out loud where I probably should have been appalled.

Additionally, what Braithwaite does with the titular characters - the ditzy yet extremely manipulative “serial killer”- Ayoola, and her long-suffering, perpetually angsty sister- Korede, is nothing short of magical.

Love, love, love!
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews109k followers
December 19, 2019
3.5 stars. I was hooked from the beginning of this book and loved the subtle, dark humor ingrained in Braithwaite's writing. I found the characters and sister dynamic to be super compelling, which incentivized me to read the rest of the story pretty quickly. Halfway through the book though, my interest started dwindling as the narrative ended up pretty straightforward. I wish there was more development with the plot points and relationships; this would have made the ending a lot punchier.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,425 reviews9,009 followers
September 3, 2022
**3.5-stars rounded up**

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a unique novella following the perspective of a young Nigerian woman, Korede.

Korede is a nurse and initially it seems she lives a fairly normal life; she is on the straight and narrow, if you will.



Normal that is, until you discover her younger sister, Ayoola, kills all of her boyfriends.

I'm speaking literally. She kills them and then calls Korede to clean up the bloody mess for her.



You're a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters.

Apparently, this is the sentiment Korede was raised with and now, no matter what her sister does, she feels obligated to PROTECT HER.



Protect her?!?

The witch is crazy. She shows no remorse or empathy for the things she does. At one point, Korede muses, "I am more haunted by her actions than she is."



I did fluctuate throughout the story between feeling bad for Korede for all the bullshit she had to put up with and being angry at her for not standing up to her damn sister.



Ultimately, I wish it would have gone a different way. I really was hoping Korede would make more growth as a character and fight back against the way people treated her.

This is a novella though, very short, and I just don't think there was enough time for her character to get there.



Overall, I felt the story was compelling, it definitely kept me interested and was unique.

Thank you to the publisher, Doubleday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.



I always appreciate the opportunity and I know a lot of people will enjoy this little tale. Personally, I look forward to seeing what comes next from Braithwaite. I like her style!

Profile Image for emma.
1,785 reviews43k followers
July 17, 2020
Honestly, I had more fun thinking about me and my sisters forming an elite team of serial killers than I did reading this.

I will never understand books that have extremely fun-sounding plots and then are boring. It feels like this story spent more time on the main character's unrequited crush on a doctor (boring, sad) than it did on having a SISTER who KILLS all her BOYFRIENDS (rad, dreamy, exciting, and so on).

In other words this book sounded like my dream and turned into my nightmare.

Really it was just an unremarkable read for me. I won't remember much about these characters or this writing style or this narrative.

Bottom line: The murder of my hopes and dreams at the hands of this book was the most consequential murder of all.

---------------

if she won't clean up the corpses of your sh*tty boyfriends, is she even your sister?

review to come / 2.5 stars

---

i am spending this month reading books by Black authors. please join me!

book 1: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
book 2: Homegoing
book 3: Let's Talk about Love
book 4: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race
book 5: The Sellout
book 6: Queenie
book 7: Red at the Bone
book 8: The Weight of the Stars
book 9: An American Marriage
book 10: Dear Ijeawaele
book 11: Sing, Unburied, Sing
book 12: Real Men Knit
book 13: All Boys Aren't Blue
book 14: Piecing Me Together
book 15: My Sister, the Serial Killer
Profile Image for jessica.
2,479 reviews29.7k followers
June 18, 2020
definitely overhyped, but i actually enjoyed this more than i thought i would.

this is a super short, fast-paced novel. and due to its length and pacing, there really is no opportunity for complex characterisation. both korede and ayoola feel very one-dimensional and do not live up to the dichotomy their characters are meant to represent. there is a decent foundation present in this story, but lacks impressive building.

what i did enjoy was the writing itself. the brief, straight-to-the-point phrasing really worked for me, which is surprising. i prefer more fluid writing, but i like that each chapter felt like a short story until you combine them and see the larger picture in the end.

overall, this is an okay debut with a lot of promising room for the author to grow.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
692 reviews3,242 followers
July 26, 2019
Set in Nigeria, My Sister, the Serial Killer follows dependable Korede and her younger sister, Ayoola, who - oops - occasionally murders people. Braithwaite's debut ranges from wry and macabre to predicable and stale. She lures her audience with two striking opening lines, and the first few chapters promise a sinster tale of deadpan humor and sly coverups, but the book quickly succumbs to familiar tropes: the beautiful, can-do-nothing-wrong younger sister and the older, less attractive sibling bearing the brunt of responsibility; a woman so beautiful men just want to be with her; and two women fighting over the same man.

Aside from taking a satirical approach to murder, there's nothing subersive about this book. Its a tale of performing unspeakable acts in the name of self-preservation and sisterhood whose twists and conclusion are forseeable; however, it's a quick read with occasional hints of humor.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is best approached as a small snack for an amusing afternoon; the kind of book one should check out from the library, swallow in two bites, and promptly return.
I bet you didn't know that bleach masks the smell of blood. Most people use bleach indiscriminately, assuming it is a catchall product, never taking the time to read the list of ingredients on the back, never taking the time to return to the recently wiped surface to take a closer look. Bleach will disinfect, but it's not great for cleaning residue, so I use it only after I have first scrubbed the bathroom of all traces of life, and death.
Profile Image for Robin.
474 reviews2,494 followers
January 12, 2019
This book reads like a bowl of popcorn. Fresh, light, hot and salty. Each very short chapter going down with a crunch, my hand already reaching greedily into the bowl for the next.

It's so very easy to read - but it contains complexity that satisfies. All at once it is mysterious, funny, disturbing. The current of feminism-gone-awry runs through it. Family ties that strangle.

Korede is the responsible sister. Ayoola is the serial killer. She's the perfect black widow, beautiful and charming. She lures men into her web and then punishes them for their stupidity. Korede cleans up the mess. But for how long?

I admire the way that this author walked the tightrope of satire, keeping the story from slipping into genre or farce. At no point does the reader feel comfortable or vindicated by the murders. In fact, we are disturbed - the victims are intelligent, kind, talented, nothing like a "Dexter" approved prey. But at the same time, Braithwaite's killer embodies a woman who is completely empowered. The opposite of victim. And that is something quite fascinating to see.

An excellent debut by Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite. Can't wait to see what she writes next.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
November 26, 2018
"I can't pinpoint the exact moment I realized that Ayoola was beautiful and I was...not. But what I do know is that I was aware of my own inadequacies long before."

Korede is a nurse in Nigeria, dedicated to her patients and well-respected by her superiors. But no matter what her achievements are, she knows she'll always play second fiddle to her younger sister, Ayoola. Ayoola is the pretty one, the favorite—and she's a psychotic murderer.

One night Ayoola summons Korede to her boyfriend's house. Ayoola says he attacked her and in self-defense, she stabbed him. It doesn't matter what the facts really are—who would disbelieve Ayoola? Korede is the sensible one, the calm one, the logical one who takes charge of the situation. She knows how to clean up the blood so no traces are found. She knows how to get rid of the body. It seems she has had a great deal of practice with this sort of thing, since this is the third boyfriend Ayoola has killed.

"Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer."

Ayoola isn't the slightest bit remorseful about what happened. She's ready to move on, find another man to charm. Korede thinks she should lie low for a while, even though she knows it won't be long before Ayoola bats her eyes and more men will come running. But this time Ayoola sets her sights a bit closer to home, as she alights on Tade, a handsome, kind doctor Korede works with. He's also the doctor that Korede has been secretly in love with, but she knows she's no match for Ayoola's charms.

As Korede watches Ayoola ensnare Tade, she feels powerless and frustrated. What she wants more than anything is just to reveal her sister's nefarious side, but she knows Ayoola will turn the evidence against her. She wishes she could just escape this life, but she has an obligation to protect her sister. With no one to turn to, she vents her anger and fears to the only person who will listen—a patient who has been in a comatose state for years. But she knows all too well what will happen if she doesn't stop it.

"I am the older sister—I am responsible for Ayoola. That's how it has always been. Ayoola would break a glass, and I would receive the blame for giving her the drink. Ayoola would fail a class, and I would be blamed for not coaching her. Ayoola would take an apple and leave the store without paying for it, and I would be blamed for letting her get hungry."

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a darkly funny yet disturbing story of familial obligation. It packs a powerful punch for a book that is less than 300 pages long, and that is because Oyinkan Braithwaite has created two complex, fascinating, not necessarily likable characters. You get glimpses of family history in order to understand where Ayoola developed her murderous tendencies. You both feel for Korede and want to shake her for allowing herself to be so fully manipulated.

More than that, however, you'll want to know how this book ends. I had lots of suspicions and wasn't disappointed where Braithwaite took her story. It's certainly a troubling book about a woman so fully overshadowed by her sister that she's forced down a path she never would have taken, but it's also commentary on how unfairly women are compared to one another, with the most attractive one almost always winning out.

I really enjoyed this, and read the entire book in a day. It certainly is a bit farcical, yet at the same time, you could believe this actually might happen, particularly in a society that treats women as second-class citizens. Braithwaite's storytelling was dead-on (no pun intended), and I look forward to seeing what comes next for her career.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.4k followers
January 11, 2019
4, the sisterhood of the traveling...serial killer stars!!!

Full review featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!

I finished this quite a bit ago, so I’m going to do my best to remember everything I thought about this book. This is at it’s heart a story about two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Korede is pragmatic, level headed and sensible. Her sister Ayoola, is none of these things. Ayoola is rash, beautiful, vibrant, the favored child and deeply irresponsible. Oh, also – did I mention she’s a sociopath? Yeah, well that too. This story takes place in Braithwaite’s birthplace of Nigera and follows these two sisters through a series of situations Ayoola thrusts them into.

You’re a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters.

You see, while Korede loves her sister and protects her, things get a little out of hand as Ayoola continues to make choices that leaves Korede having to clean up her messes…literally and figuratively. Korede is a nurse, and above all her practicality is the sisters saving grace. She knows all the best ways to clean up blood, her trunk is big enough to fit a body and not only that but when Ayoola wants to do crazy stuff, like posting pictures of her food when she should be mourning her dead boyfriend, she stops her from that too. Korede is a good sister, if covering up your siblings murders is what makes you a good sibling.

However, things change when Korede’s long time crush – a kind, handsome doctor who works at her hospital, Tade, asks Korede not for her number, but for Ayoola’s. Ayoola has shown no remorse for her actions, she’s simply moved on and is keen to get over her dead ex, by getting under some one new. As Korede stands helplessly by, watching Ayoola seduce Tade with her charisma, charm and beauty she struggles with her wish to leave this life and her obligation to look out for her sister. Korede, having no one to confide in, turns to a comatose patient and she grapples with the knowledge that if she does nothing – she is well aware of what the outcome of this new relationship will be.

It takes a whole lot longer to dispose of a body than to dispose of a soul, especially if you don’t want to leave any evidence of foul play.

This was quite a different type of story than I anticipated when I first added it to my TBR and when I first started reading it. At just 226 pages, this baby packs a serious punch. Not only that, but as Braithwaite’s debut novel I am left feeling incredibly impressed by the skill and finesse shown in weaving this story. The layered characters she created were fresh and vibrantly written – most notably Korede. Braithwaite wrote Korede in a way that you could deeply feel for her plight – especially if you know the bonds of siblings – but at the same time, I regularly found myself wanting to shake Korede as hard as I can and yell in her face “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS, GIRL, THIS DUMB!”. This also had a very dark, campy humor that I found utterly refreshing.

Ayoola has her knife on her, since she carries it the way other women carry tampons.

In the end, I adored this story and am excited for future works by Braithwaite. However, there were a few things that left me wanting, just a bit. First, the chapters are very choppy. This is a short book, and I absolutely flew through it, but I wish the read had been a little more fluid and less jerky. While I appreciated the social commentary on societies obsession with beauty (especially since beauty, in general is fleeting and society equates beauty and youth) it did get a little tedious to focus on so much. I wish there had been just a bit more depth to their differences, instead of focusing so much on appearance. The ending quite surprised me, which I’ve found rare these days but I also wish this aspect had been fleshed out just a bit more. All in all, I think this is definitely one to add to your list, or read it if it’s already there!
Profile Image for Adina.
780 reviews2,956 followers
April 1, 2019
4.5* rounded up.

I discovered this novel by accident while I was browsing the longlist for Orange Women Prize. I had no intention to read any of the proposed books since this year I don't feel I have the time to follow awards but the title immediately caught my eye. After reading the blurb I just knew I had to buy it and I left everything else I had started for this one. I am so glad I did because it was such a pleasant surprise. I should let myself carried away by my instincts more often.

What is it about except the obvious, a sister who is a serial killer? Well, I think one of the main questions that I was left with is: Is the enabler as guilty as the perpetrator? In my opinion, yes, but you should make up your own mind. It is also a novel about loyalty and its limits, family dynamics and love

Korede, a plain woman, is a nurse at a hospital in Lagos. Her sister, Ayoola is a local beauty, a fashion designer and a serial killer of her boyfriends. Whenever she murders another boo in "self defence" she calls her hygiene obsessed sister to help her clean up the mess. Korede has some issues with her conscience but when her boss (to whom she is in love) falls for Ayoola, things become more complicated.

“It’s because she is beautiful, you know. That’s all it is. They don’t really care about the rest of it. She gets a pass at life.”

Although the story is structured in very short chapters and the writing style is clean and simple I was impacted by the structure. The story alternated between the present and the narration of the family history which might or might not explain Ayoola's behaviour.There are some subtle tones of dark humour, my favourite kind, so this novel was right up my alley.

“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.”
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan .
944 reviews1,897 followers
October 26, 2022
This book is dark, satirical, and funny. Just like the title, the author was able to evoke curiosity in every line the author has written.

Braithwaite tells us the story of Korede and Ayoola, who are sisters. What will you do if your sister, who also happens to be a serial killer, starts dating someone you secretly love? How far will you go to protect and defend your sister? The author is trying to find the answer to it through this book.

My favorite three lines from this book.
“We are nothing if not thorough in our deception of others.”


“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.”


“He looked like a man who could survive a couple of flesh wounds, but then so had Achilles and Caesar.”


This will be a good choice if you are looking for a well-written book that you can finish reading quickly but still haunts you for a long time.
Profile Image for Joel Rochester.
62 reviews16.6k followers
October 27, 2020
i wouldn't necessarily call this a thriller, more so a chilling story about two sisters, one who kills her boyfriends and the other who will go to great lengths to protect her.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,504 reviews24.5k followers
March 6, 2020
An unusual, fabulous, short, but cracking read from Oyinkan Braithwaite, at the heart of which is the dysfunctional relationship between two sisters set in Nigeria. In this entertaining, satirical and fun story, Korede is the elder sister, living under the shadow of her beautiful, selfish, murdering psycho of a younger sister, Ayoola, with men who flock towards her, finding her just so unbelievably irresistible. Korede, as a nurse has the skills to clean up after her serial killer of a sister's murders, she harbours resentment and ambivalent feelings towards Ayoola, but when all is said and done, she is family, blood is thicker, so her loyalties lie with Ayoola. With Korede unburdening herself on a coma patient, what happens when family loyalties are tested against the feelings Korede has for a doctor? A darkly humorous novel that is compulsive, engaging and riveting reading. Many thanks to Atlantic Books for a copy of the book.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
June 25, 2021
Somewhere between a 3-3.5 stars
There were some things I really enjoyed about this book and some things I didn’t enjoy as much. I love stories that follow sisters so I was super intrigued by a story that follows a girl dealing with her sister being a serial killer.

However, I feel like because it was the sister who was the serial killer, a lot of the ‘action’ of the book is written off the page… like we kind of just see the events after they’ve already happened. For that reason it didn’t feel super thriller-like, it felt more like a family drama kind of story. Also a lot of the reviews are claiming this is dark humor, but I personally didn’t find anything humorous about the story? Maybe it just went over my head, but it was lost on me.

But I really enjoyed the end of this book, and I appreciate how fast-paced this story was, (I’m a huge fan of short chapters like this haha) even though I do wish the story itself was a little longer so I could learn more about these characters.
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
306 reviews2,323 followers
December 9, 2018
FIVE STARS I LOVE THIS!!

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Ok, truth here--this is not a suspenseful thriller, despite the enticing title. It IS a novel about family dynamics, love between sisters and loyalty to the ones that matter in your life.

The minute I started this short, richly dark and funny book, I was HOOKED! It is elegant and lovely, all gorgeous words on a page.

Set in Nigeria, very up-to-the-minute contemporary, and oh so addictive! The story centers around a beautiful 20-something that is so alluring, every man falls in love with her at first sight. Unfortunately for them, our pretty girl tends to murder the man after she grows tired of him. Her older sister is the slightly bitter one, responsible with a full time job and a neatnik cleaning fetish. This comes in handy since her little sis calls her after every murder to help clean up and dispose of the body.

DOES THIS SOUND CRAZY???? Yes, it is. And like I said, I love it!! I don't think it is for everyone, but if you are open-minded and adventurous in your reading, I highly recommend it! It is actually a very sweet story with just a bit of a sting.

The audio version is superb. I could listen to that gorgeous Nigerian accent all day long!
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 15 books1,437 followers
September 30, 2020
This book is five stars mostly due to the great voice of the character, real, honest and raw. The structure is a kaleidoscope of scenes, flash-fiction for each chapter. Lean and economic. This stylistic format works very well but I’m not sure a regular length novel could take the constant breakneck speed without the reader getting fatigued and dropping out. The main character is endeared to the reader in many ways but the most important one is how she takes care of her sister and covers for her little indiscretions (three murders). I would love to read a second novel by this author and I will be first in line to buy the next one. But one of the main reasons this book works so well is the high concept, a sociopathic sister who kills her boyfriends and her big sister cleans up after her, (there are other twists but they’re spoilers) all set in Lagos. The scene setting adds great flavor to the story. One of my favorite books in noir books is, Out by Natsuo Kirino, (what a great read, highly recommend) My Sister The Serial Killer has hints of Out. I guess all great books remind readers of others they have read.
If you like your reads fast and emotional this one is for you.
David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,113 reviews2,171 followers
January 10, 2019
If you appreciate dark humor with a side of social commentary this is the book for you!

The novel is set in the author’s birthplace of Nigeria, and follows two sisters, Ayoola and Korede. Ayoola is beautiful, irresponsible, and has a habit of killing off her boyfriends. Korede is the older, less attractive sister who literally cleans up the messes her sister makes and protects her at all costs.

Ayoola lacks self-awareness and goes about her life being adored and indulged due to her great beauty. As the eldest, Korede is loyal but underneath she harbors feelings of anger and resentment, which reveals itself in surprising ways.

But what happens when Ayoola sets her sights on a man that Korede has feelings for? This is when things really get interesting.

There is a backstory that helps to explain why Ayoola and her sister are the way they are, but the first-person narrative by Korede prevents us from delving too deeply into Ayoola’s psyche. It would have been nice to know more from other character’s perspectives.

At 240 pages, it's a quick read and the dark humor and subtle social commentary keeps this tale from becoming grim. Nothing should be taken too seriously, as it’s the underlying themes that make this such a thoughtful novel. Topics such as the sibling bond, sociopathy, social media, abuse, and the role of women in a patriarchal society are explored. The book also led me to the internet to explore the Nigerian culture. I love it when a book inspires me to do my own little bit of research on a topic.

I buddy read this with my friend Marialyce and this book generated some surprisingly deep discussions. I think this would make a terrific book club discussion book.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,794 reviews27.9k followers
May 20, 2019
4 Strong Stars

I really enjoyed this story; but, most of all, I enjoyed the writing.

Many people probably believe that longer sentences and flowery prose is the sign of good writing. And sometimes it is; however, I am always more impressed by writers who can write concisely and without any fat. In many ways, it's actually harder to write with such brevity. To have each word and sentence be meaningful and without filler or bullshit. To have what is not there have even more impact than what is.

Braithwaite is definitely a true talent. This book was a lean, mean, machine and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I enjoyed the Nigerian setting and culture, the characters, the humor, and most of all, the thought-provoking undercurrents of all the things in life we should question:

Loyalty.
Social media.
Perception.
Family.
Love.
Morality.
And perhaps above all, beauty.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,790 reviews69k followers
March 1, 2020
Well, I think you kind of have to be ok with somewhat rooting for the doormat sister of a serial killer, who (quite literally) cleans up her messes for her.
That? <--won't be for everyone.

Most serial killers that we know about are predominately white and male, which is one of the things that makes it easier for the stunningly lovely Ayoola to go about her business, happily stabbing away.

description

But her sister, Korede, knows. Or at the very least, she suspects that it is very unlikely her little sister is acting in self-defense anymore when she calls her to help clean up yet another dead boyfriend.
So what will faithful Korde do when the kind doctor with the beautiful voice (that's she's secretly been in love with forever) decides to ask Ayoola out on a date?

description

I really enjoyed the way the girls' past opens up to you over the course of the story, and the way my feelings for Korde's crush changed during that time.
It all worked out for the best, I felt.

Warning:
Those readers with a strong sense of right and wrong- the ones with no real moral ambiguity?
You know who you are.
You probably won't like this.
I personally enjoyed it quite a bit.

Adepero Oduye - Narrator
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Edition: Unabridged
Profile Image for Jaidee .
560 reviews1,024 followers
January 8, 2020
1 star !

2019 Read I was Most Afraid to Hate Award

I found this mostly repulsive. In what kind of world is serial killing and psychopathy funny ?

A feminist satire...my arse !

The one star is for the very interesting cultural and social setting.
Profile Image for Debbie.
425 reviews2,688 followers
March 19, 2019
Hot diggety, dog diggety, oh what you do to me…

Oh what this book did to me!! Yes, I’m singing away as I bounce along on my pogo stick. This edgy little book is a favorite of the year and yes, it made my all-time-favorites list too!

Oh brother (I guess I should say, oh sister). What a fantastic read this is! Smart, dark, irresistible, and so well written! I honestly didn’t want to start my next book because I wanted to keep the taste of this sweet morsel in my mouth. No thank you, I don’t want to chew on any new words and wipe out the heavenly taste. I don’t even want to brush my teeth (although you have to admit that wanting to keep the taste of a book in my mouth is a pretty inventive excuse for not polishing the old pearlies—but don’t tell my dentist).

Sisters, sigh. I’m an older sister who sometimes had to clean up my little sisters’ messes—huff, puff, “this isn’t fair,” I’d bitch. But come on, their messes didn’t include the body of a man they just stabbed to death. I had it easy. Stop your complaining.

The title tells all. One sister, beautiful and charismatic, seduces men and then stabs them to death. Like all psychopaths, she doesn’t think it’s a problem; she’s all la-de-da and nonchalant. The ugly sister, the one telling the story, is left holding the mop. Like all normal people, she does think it’s a problem; her middle name is worry. The first-person narrative makes her likeable and believable, and it also makes us feel her pain. I don’t want to say anything else about what’s going on. There’s suspense—will the killer or her cleaner-upper sister get caught? Will the beautiful sister kill again? I’ll just say that the book is about all things sibling: rivalry, jealousy, loyalty, love.

I was instantly in love with the title; it’s irresistible. But the cover, not so much. It’s too neon-y, like underneath the cover it’s all trashy. The brash colors hurt my eyes. And please, remember lowercase! (Some old editor guidelines said to kill All Caps, that they’re harder to read. And I’m stuck believing it; too many years of obedience.)

The book is set in Nigeria; we get a little taste of the culture, which I just loved. There very occasionally is a sentence in the native language. Usually I don’t like sentences that I can’t understand, but here, I didn’t care one iota. It just reminded me that the story takes place in a far-away culture. Funny how love of a book can make me ignore what typically would be a complaint.

In a slight way, this book reminds me of books by Koch, one of my favorite authors. (Dear Mr. M comes to mind.) This book is less complex and less dense, but both Koch and this author have psychos, mysteries, psychology, dark humor, and great writing in common.

One of my all-time favorite novels is Stay with Me, also by a Nigerian author and also set in Nigeria. Check it out if you want another great read from Nigeria.

Thanks to Betsy for her review, which made this a Must Read Now book. And oh what a book this is. It’s a fast read and thoroughly engaging, and it had me bouncing on my pogo stick for days. I’m dying to see what this author does next. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Michelle .
847 reviews1,181 followers
November 2, 2018
This book is a complete gem and I enjoyed every moment I spent with Korede and Ayoola!

Firstly, I have never read a book that took place in Africa...Lagos Nigeria to be precise and it made this book much more interesting for me.

Korede and Ayoola are sisters. Korede is the sensible one that makes her living as a nurse and also cleaning up after her sister Ayoola. Ayoola is flighty, addicted to social media, but mostly Ayoola is beautiful. No man can seem to resist her charm. Or, better yet, her appearance.

The thing is that Ayoola bores of her men quickly and when she's done with you she is DONE with you and she may even get a little stabby to prove her point. When Ayoola has these moments of murderous intentions it is Korede to who she calls to help. The always efficient Korede comes to save her time and time again.

But what happens when Ayoola sets her sights on the doctor that Korede is infatuated with? You'll have to read it to find out.

Oyinkan Braithwaite, I adore you and your humor. You made these characters come alive. And THAT COVER is perfection! I'd like to frame it and hang it in my house.

My only gripe is the ending. It was very abrupt and I'm going to spoiler tag this 4 stab worthy stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for proving me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
466 reviews1,282 followers
June 16, 2020
A breath of fresh air.
This was one clever, quirky, quick read. The story takes place in Nigeria - love African ones. The young beautiful spoiled sister has a passion for killing her boyfriends. The older sister is left cleaning up her mess and protecting her. Until the one man she loves loves the younger sister. And like every romance, it turns savage.

Such a delicious dark read. Not sure if it was just my copy but the last 10 pages were oddly upside down. This just made it all the more interesting!
4.25⭐️
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