Introducing The Rooster Award winner and The Women’s Prize short list nominee, My Sister, the Serial Killer! Can you hear my round of applause? It’s a proud moment for me because this book is a Nigerian thriller and suspense book and it’s making serious waves!
My Sister, the Serial Killer is a thriller that highlights how deep blood ties run and the crazy extent one could go to protect a loved one. It also exposes the effects of abuse on children. Some are affected ‘positively’ ie they could become active campaigners against abuse. While others are affected negatively just as you’ll find out in the story, depending on how the child is wired.
Korede is the complete opposite of her sister, Ayoola in many things. Ayoola is the favourite child, beautiful, carefree and a serial killer to top it all. Being the man magnet that she is, it doesn’t help that her boyfriends have turned up dead. Korede is saddled with the responsibility of cleaning up after her mess despite the ill feelings she bears towards her. She must protect her little sister as she has always done right from their younger years with an abusive father. She fears for the next man until it happens to be someone she cares about. Then, she is faced with choosing between her own blood and a stranger with no ties.
I was okay with the tempo of the story. I wasn’t really on the edge but there was just enough suspense to keep me captivated. The story was told from Korede’s perspective using the first person narrative. Each chapter was short and precise. The language was simple and easy to read with bits and pieces of unexpected humour scattered throughout the dialogues.
Now would you believe I predicted in my mind, the major plot twist of the story about the old man in coma? Yes I did and it was just too easy to do that. I was disappointed at that because I like twists that surprise me. It adds to the thrill and suspense. I have mixed feelings about the ending as well. I could say that I was satisfied to an extent if I choose to look at it as an atypical ending to thrillers in which the killer doesn’t get caught. In life, people actually do stuff with impunity and it’s the job of fiction to tell such stories. So I can’t fault the author based on this.
But then from another angle as regards closure, I wanted more. The theme of abuse should have been explored to a certain extent with more backstory. Ayoola’s true feelings and motives should also have been told to give some weight to the murders. If the abuse she and her family endured from their father was developed fully, I would have been able to pinpoint a motive. Now, all I can do is speculate. It was just too easy to end the story the way it did. What are your thoughts if you’ve read the book?
My major takeaway from this book is the effect of simple language. It’s not every time eloquent grammar and high degrees of sentence construction are needed. It is important to note who the character really is and the kind of language that suits him or her before determining the manner of writing. Simple language, many times, conveys a message more clearly than the complicated ones. Plus checking a dictionary every second can be burdensome too. It’s important to strike a balance.
I’ll be glad to see My Sister the Serial Killer win the Women’s Prize. It’s a win for Nigerian literature. I would love to see more Nigerian authors delve into this genre. We have a lot of stories to tell. This is a must read for everyone because it is short, easy to read and will keep you captivated till the end. I’ll see you in my next post! Ciao!