Women's Prize Longlist 2019 Reviews

Women’s Prize Longlist Review – My Sister, the Serial Killer

my sister, the serial killer


Publisher: Atlantic Books

Format: Hardback

Pages: 223

Rating: 4/5


This darkly humorous book about sisters, and partners in crime (literally), Ayoola and Korede, had me gripped from the start, leading me to devour it in one sitting. At the beginning of the book, we witness Korede helping Ayoola dispose of the body of the third boyfriend she has killed, and as Korede reminds us, three makes a serial killer.

As the story progresses, we see Korede attempt to develop as a character and become conflicted in her mind as she is unable to break the bonds between herself and her persuasive, charming sister. Braithwaite explores the concept of beauty and the societal expectations surrounding this concept through the main character, who is starkly aware she is not as conventionally beautiful as her younger sister. Is beauty more important than integrity? For Ayoola it seems to be as everyone around her goes to great lengths to appease her. Korede herself goes from being at her beck and call, to being resentful and angry, back to being supportive regardless of situation.

The sibling relationship was fascinating but equally frustrating as we see Korede pushed to the side consistently by people who are supposed to be her family and friends. Many people, including myself, can relate to this and therefore sympathise with the main character, and become more immersed in the story. The author’s portrayal of familial ties is expertly and realistically done with Korede wanting to confess what her sister has done, but ultimately protecting her even if it means cutting ties with the one person who has shown genuine interest in her as an individual.

Not only is the plot of this book entertaining and interesting, the writing is also compelling. The use of satire and pop culture references alongside dark themes of murder and abuse creates a juxtaposition that works incredibly well and keeps the reader hooked. I personally don’t know anyone who took more than a day to finish it, which emphasises how addictive Braithwaite’s writing is here.

Furthermore, the inclusion of an abusive father gives the reader an insight into why the two sisters behave the way they do. Some of the shocking scenes within the book also highlight how women and young girls are still considered their father’s property in some places, and are still in some cases, auctioned off to the highest bidder to be faced with marriage and potentially, pregnancy at an age when they should be free to enjoy their childhood. The author’s choice to face this issue head on has opened my eyes further to the dangers of being a young woman in certain areas in the world, and I would recommend the book to anyone based on this insight alone.

My only qualm with the book is that I would have liked it to be slightly longer so we could have explored the characters further, but this is only minor as the author manages to develop the two sisters a remarkable amount considering the short page length. I would sincerely recommend this short book to everyone, especially as it is so quick to read. I’m excited to see what the author writes next, her debut being a solid four stars for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s