My Sister, the Serial Killer has been reviewed several times here, but when I found faintingviolet’s review, I knew that it was going to be the one for my #crb11bingo #CannonballerSays. Why? Because I liked the image. I liked they were not sure about reading it as they did not like horror. And frankly, why not?
Ovinkan Braithwaite has a distinctive not Western voice. Therefore, this book could fill several bingo slots. It could be for Far And Away; Own Voices; and not because of the voice, even Summer Read. And I have a feeling that somewhere, if it has not already, it will be challenged/banned.
This voice is shown in the obvious language differences. It is shown by how he police are portrayed and it is shown by how the family interacts on a slightly different manner. Nigerian culture is also brought into play. It is all relatable with the familiar themes we see in Western literature and life: a woman pulled over by the police and what she can fear/expect; how the “beautiful people” are treated vs the “not so beautiful people” are treated. Family dynamics are not different. And the “outward” vs “inner” appearances are just as important as it is in any culture.
While I was disappointed in the ending, it is the only ending that could happen. This book is going to be one of the cult hit books of the year. It is like An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, for me. Not because of the story (though murder plays a role in both), but because it was a book I had heard about, liked the cover, had recommended via multiple sources, but did not pick up until the moment that felt right. I came away from it thinking, “OMG THIS IS ONE WILD RIDE!”
Also, since there was so much build up, I was thinking it was not as OMG FANTASTIC as could have been, but it did not disappoint. I know these characters. Okay, I do not know a serial killer (or at least I do not think so), but I do know the personality of these people. I think your birth order (especially if you are a sister/sister combo) will color your like and dislike of characters. If you are a parent, that too might make you more sympathetic to the mother. You just might see yourself in these people. I see some of Korede’s positives and flaws in myself and I see some of Ayoola’s flaws in my sister. (Guess which of us is the older sister?)
This book deserves the following and praise it is getting. An even, possibly, the challenging. After all, as the publisher description says, it is a “Slasher meets (dark comic) satire.” There is blood, there is sex, there is a less than ideal homelife, there are married men cheating on their wives and married women cheating on their husbands. Not that I condone banning or challenging a book, but I do understand the whys behind it. This novel is entertaining, with dry and amusing humor. I do not feel it is scary or horror at all, but a calm thriller. It is a more mature Columbo (you know who the killer is, but can the police find out). It is very straight forward but some surprises, too.