My Sister, the Serial Killer
Narrator: Adepero Oduye
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…
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Published: November 20th 2018
Murder, Blood Depiction, Mentions of Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse
“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 is one of those sad times in which I didn’t care for the performance. It felt lifeless in the telling of the story, I don’t know if Oduye was trying to convey a sense of pensiveness or that the character was passive in her own life, but…. it was boring and cold and I didn’t really enjoy my listen. Hopefully the story held my interest… right?
No. It did not. Something about this book aggravated me, but also… I don’t really know the goal of this story. Genuinely. Now, this isn’t your typical thriller, it’s more of a character study and a social commentary on family, men and their audacity, and….. I don’t want to call it boring, but with a title such as this I was expecting more. And considering I’m very much so over this book, we’ll keep this review short.
See, Ayoola– young, beautiful and overall beloved by all… has murdered her last three boyfriends. And she has a tendency to have her older sister Korede come to clean up the mess. But, what was once seen as self defense is now being noticed as a concerning pattern. Yet, even more messy, Ayoola shows up to Korede’s place of work and the doctor she’s been secretly harboring feelings for begins to notice Ayoola… will the pattern continue?
The opening didn’t catch me. The middle didn’t catch me. And as I sat there waiting for the point, it hit me: there might be no point. This is a story on two sisters, how one sister feels overlooked in her efforts to protect her sister and feels overshadowed by the younger, more beautiful sibling. It’s about jealousy and loyalty and family and morality… and it lacked depth.
Yet, considering this is such a short listen coming in at around 4+ hours, I wanted to continue, to see if there was a turn around, a chance that I would find what this book was trying to give and… no.
“You’re a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters.”
Everything felt like it lacked depth and honestly, it was the characters, specifically the main character that made this such a difficult read for me. I didn’t like any of them, first of all. The younger sister I can understand
maybe — she’s made to be selfish and self centered and everyone is blinded by the societal beauty standards she coveys, but our main character? Again— lifeless. Remember, I don’t know if it was the narrators performance or the character herself but I think I get it? She’s a bystander in her own life in the shadows of her beautiful sister? Maybe? But she’s lacking.
And I can get behind a boring main character, but there’s her lack of back bone. The lack of communication. There was not a glimpse of… anything the audience could even cling to to be like “oh, I can get why she allows people to walk all over her” other than “oh they’re family. Blood runs thicker than water.” That’s just not my mindset, which again, okay. However, I needed backstory on why the sisters’ relationship was the way it was because all of the animosity from Korede and all of the manipulation from Ayoola felt shallow. What we are given… is shallow. I don’t need likable characters, but also don’t expect to have me care about one dimensional characters with little foundation. And that may be what pisses me off the most.
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.
Because that’s what Korede felt like. That’s what everyone felt like. Flat. And no amount of philosophical takes on morality fixed that. Okay, let me stop being so negative: I can say I appreciated the contrast between the sisters, the complexity of family as a whole considering what they’ve been through and even their flaws, they were put out front and I can appreciate the transparency in that.
However, I’d like to put out there that I did decide to DNF this. And I initially wasn’t going to leave a rating, but the one star just spoke to me. I tried to push through it but I feel like I gave it ample opportunity to get philosophical or introspective or whatever it was trying to do and failed. I’d also like to throw out that this just may not be my thing. And that’s okay. I don’t know if I have the brain capacity to understand what the message is here, but I’m not going to tell ya’ll this isn’t worth your time. Here’s to trying something new I guess.