My sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
This book made me uncomfortable.
The story is set in Nigeria and is about two sisters and as the title says one of them appears to be a serial killer. This is not a story about murder. It is far more a story about family, loyalty, suffering, culture and misogyny. This is not a crime thriller or a whodunnit. It is more about a love triangle, sisterhood ad the way men are perceived.
"Here 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."
It is dark humour; the story has a strong sense of place and the busy city of Lagos really does come to life in the authors narrative. But the stars of this book are these amazingly strong characters that shine in their self-confidence and audaciousness.
"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."
The relationship between the to sisters is really well written and I found it really easy to empathise with the main character. We learn through flashbacks about what has bought these two sisters to this place and how the family dynamics have become what they are. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments and some inside jokes for those who know Nigerian culture. There are also some parts of the book that are a little bit more difficult to read and challenge the patriarchal society that the characters are having to live with.
So why did it make me uncomfortable? Well, I do like a story with clear lines. I do not like to have sympathy for characters that are clearly corrupt and ‘baddies’ and this book does drag you to this place. The women in this book are strong, but maybe not in the ways you think strength should look.
Overall, it is a good read. I laughed out loud several times and squirmed just as many.
I read it in a couple of days and would look for more by this author. 3/5