Sharp and slyly funny: My Sister, the Serial Killer

This explosive debut grabbed me by the collar and demanded my full attention from start to finish. I read it in near enough one sitting thanks to its quick pace and short chapters.

The premise is simple: Korede’s sister is a serial killer. But now she’s turned her attention to the man Korede’s in love with. Does Korede turn her in to save the man? Or does she stick by her sister?

“Three, and they label you a serial killer.”

I loved Korede from page one. She’s dry with a dark sense of humour and no-nonsense attitude. There’s no floweriness to her language or her character – she says what she needs to say; she does what she needs to do. And it works so well.

However, I didn’t like Ayoola or Tade: the two people Korede must choose between. I thought they were both self-centered and annoying. So instead of worrying about who would live or die or go to jail, I was more concerned about how Korede would get through without being imprisoned or getting hurt – which maybe was the point. I’d love to hear what other people thought about them?

Despite the title and the plot, I wouldn’t put this down as a thriller. It’s a novel that explores familial relationships, not one that chases after thrills and twists. Some parts felt a little rushed – like the ending – but the chapters exploring the relationship between Korede and her family, especially her father, were poignant and memorable.

The themes in ‘My Sister’ are bold. Braithwaite doesn’t hold back in her criticism of men: as Ayoola points out to Korede, “He isn’t deep. All he wants is a pretty face. That’s all they ever want.” Likewise, the relationship between sisters is held under a microscope: how far can Ayoola push Korede before she turns against her?

I enjoyed ‘My Sister’: it was a quick, well-written read that required little heavy thinking. I’m not sure I’d say it’s the same calibre as other Booker longlists like Bernadine Evaristo’s lyrical fusion fiction and Elif Shafak’s atmospheric Istanbul. But for a debut novel, it’s impressive and sure to help you out of any reading slump.

Read this when your brain needs a break: when you want an author to take you through the story with little effort on your own part.


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