The first thing that attracted me to this book is the sassy cover. The title of the book My sister, the serial killer overlays a picture of a young, glamorous woman who looks to have no cares in the world. The title and this image are so at odds with each other you cannot help but wonder how this story will go. I also thought it would be interesting to read a book about murder which is not from the perspective of the killer or intended victim. The idea of knowing that someone you love has done these things is a compelling concept. After reading the back cover it intrigued me more as I have not read many books based in Nigeria before and it is always good to read about new places and cultures.
What’s it about?
My Sister, the Serial Killer is told by Korede. Korede is a nurse who works hard in her local hospital. She strives to do the right thing and likes the rules to be followed. She lives with her mother and her sister. And she is in love with a doctor who she works closely with but does not seem to notice her in that way. One day Korede is put in charge of looking after a patient who is in a coma and starts talking to him while she attends to his body. This talking soon turns to confession and we learn about Korede’s sister Ayoola.
Ayoola is a young, extremely attractive woman who likes to live the high life. She always has a string of men who want her. They buy her beautiful gifts, they take her to exotic places on holiday, they seem to worship her. But they need to beware as it seems that Ayoola has a habit of killing them.
Through Korede we learn about the first man to fall victim of her sister. But that was a terrible accident, a case of self-defence gone wrong. Wasn’t it? Korede was called in to help her sister which she did without question. And then she receives another call to help her sister again. When does something become a pattern? When should you be concerned?
Of course, then Ayoola comes across the lovely doctor who Korede is in love with and he falls for her as men always do. Korede then has a dilemma- does she warn him, perhaps getting Ayoola in trouble? Or does she risk him getting hurt?
What are the themes?
As this story is told by Korede it does not have a focus on the murders themselves, but more the impact these things can have. It raises a lot of questions. Would you do the same for your family? How would you cope if it kept happening? Would you be able to keep it secret or would you have to tell someone, even someone who cannot talk back as they are in a coma? And the age-old issue of you have helped once so you are in it now. If she were to go to the police, she would be in trouble herself for the bodies she’s helped to hide already. So, does she just keep going, or should she take the punishment?
Does she deserve to be punished, or is she also a victim of her sister? Manipulated by family love into protecting her sister whilst getting embroiled in it herself. Is it ever ok to do terrible things to protect the people that you love?
Even though this book is about murder and raises a lot of questions it has a lot of dark humour. It is a funny book, which seems strange considering the themes. But there are so many times where Ayoola manages to get away with things purely because she is beautiful. We all know people who act like this. They just breeze through the world without a care because for them things just are easier. People want to be around them. And that is how you feel as a reader too. There is something intriguing about Ayoola as she is just so fabulously self-obsessed. To her, nothing is a problem- just let it go. She almost finds it funny that her sister is bothered about her behaviour.
Recommend My Sister, the Serial Killer?
I would definitely recommend this book. It only took me a couple of days to read as it is really short chapters and easy to get along with. The characters are great and the relationships between them beautifully written with so many emotions. The things that are not said between characters are almost as important as the ones that are, which is so true to life. A lot can be said in just a look. I really enjoyed the different ways that characters would talk to certain people too which gave me a brand-new insight into Nigerian life- the Yoruba language in the book was something totally new to me and gave a solid foundation of the setting. Overall, a really darkly fun book.
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