30 Books in 30 Days, Vol. 2
Objectively, this should be getting a higher rating, but I found it rather agonizing to listen to, just because of personal preference. It’s actually really smart and really well done, and I think it accomplishes exactly what it’s trying to do. I should have figured this might happen, though. Satires are love them or hate them for me.
And, really, I didn’t hate this! I just sort of hated listening to it. It made me feel very misanthropic. But the longer I am away from it, the more I can appreciate its merits.
Braithwaite has created a scenario designed to be a no-win situation for our heroine. Her sister, Ayoola, who she was socialized to care about almost as another mother, and who was spoiled within an inch of her life, and who is extremely beautiful and used to getting what she wants at all times, has taken to killing her boyfriends. The first time, Korede (our narrator) believes the killing to genuinely have been in self defense, and while the second stretches credulity, by the third time she’s helping to dispose of the body, she knows deep down it’s her sister that is the problem. Korede comes to a crisis when Ayoola starts dating a doctor that works at Korede’s hospital, one she has had a crush on for forever.
It’s a little bit hard for me to say for sure whether the meaning I took from this book was really intended, because satire can be very culturally specific, and I am not familiar with Nigerian culture (the book takes place in Lagos), but I’m fairly certain at the very least Braithwaite is making some pointed commentary about the shallowness of the society that Korede lives in, because that kind of thing is not just a Nigerian thing, but a human thing. Ayoola’s beautiful face literally gets her a pass in life, and that pass gets people killed, and in a way, they almost kill themselves, and people like Korede are complicit. There are some other culturally more pointed bits that I pulled from the book but am less sure of.
Any way, I’m glad I read this, but I don’t think I’ll be revisiting it, even if I do think about it more often than I expected to.
[2.5 stars, rounding up because it’s more satisfying to think about afterwards than to listen to]
Read Harder Challenge 2022: Read any book from the Women’s Prize shortlist/longlist/winner list