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Jumada-II 1441/February 2020's Book Club Pick — My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahim

Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu everyone!

Welcome to this month's book club edition. Today, the lovely ladies at Umm Ayman's Library are our guests. Masha'Allah alhamdullilah. Visit them here.

1. What did you like most? Umm Ayman's Library:

· The unusual storyline, well written prose and appropriate diction.

· The plot. It’s definitely different from other things we’ve read.

· It was just different from other books based in Nigeria, still sort of tragic but different all the same.

· We loved Korede's work ethic.

· How light the read was!

Fofky's Book Club:

· We liked the pace and the chapters that were descriptive, yet succinct.

· Korede's cynicism and also her work ethic.

· It was definitely an easy and funny read.

2. What gave you pause?

Umm Ayman's Library:

· Please, what really happened to their father? Did the sisters kill him? Which one of them?

· The Doctor’s obliviousness to Korede's crushing on him *eyerolls.*

· One of us was worried that Korede was going to end up with Muhtar. And the name Muhtar! Was it supposed to be Mukhtar?!

· We think that there is more to this book. Ayoola could be the father's killer, she started from there... *laughs*

Fofky's Book Club:

· We believe the girls plotted his death when they were teenagers by making him trip on his cane. The book is typical black widow stuff but it gave off the vibe of the African American movie Eve's Bayou where there is a protective child or children with murderous intent toward an abusive husband and father.

· We also had a pause on the name Muhtar. Especially the moderator who hails from a country where many immigrant Mauritanians there have the name Mukhtar with a "k."

· The fact that the shitty cleaner's name was Mohammed. On top of that, he had poor hygiene and was a woman's magnet. That said, it's very realistic that in real life you will meet people with that blessed and BIG NAME who don't deserve the weight of the name or can't live to the expectation.

· If Muhtar is smart, he should remain single. We were rooting for him to marry Korede actually. However, the author did the right thing there with Muhtar and Korede. What's worse? Marrying someone who can keep your secret? Or marrying someone who cares deeply for you, who can also kill you if things turn sour, who can make your body disappear, who cleans up REALLY GOOD and no one will ever suspect or find out?

· There is definitely more to this book, and it is a shame it was rather sanitized in editing to keep it very simple and to the point. The strength of the book is also its downfall. This is why sometimes too much showing versus less telling gives us pause. There are too many questions left answered.

3. What didn't you like?

Umm Ayman's Library:

· The whole stress of protecting Ayoola's interest and the fact that she doesn't even realize the gravity of the consequences of her actions.

· That the book felt rushed, and we didn't quite get the last page (who was the man who came)?

· We didn't like that the younger sister kept putting her older sister in difficult situations. And that the Mom was so oblivious to her biased mothering.

· It didn't end well, lots of unfinished explanations.

Fofky's Book Club:

· The book demonstrated that people don't change. They grow if they want to. Ayoola didn't change; she remained a man eater, selfish, and self-centered. She had zero intention to grow into a better person.

· The man who came is just the next victim of Ayoola, lol! Remember Korede said that they will be many more Muhtars; meaning that they will be more patients she would confide the crimes of her sister in since she is a nurse. And her sister will continue to be a serial-dater...

· Like we said, showing is very subtle in telling stories, and it's VERY easy to miss the intent of the writer. We had to reread it a few chapters several times to catch the hidden messages of the writer subhannallah.

4. What are your other thoughts?

Umm Ayman's Library:

· Why was she still trying to protect the guy to the extent of even embarrassing herself when he clearly made his choice (Ayoola) *meh*? "Love is not that deep." We really believe that. Love is a choice and the minute a person makes a choice that is not you, you let go. Life is much easier that way; less drama and less painful scenarios.

· I somehow think her path will somehow cross with that if Muhtar in the nearest future.

· Will the sister ever get caught?

· The crimes were too easy, their escapes and cover ups and how the family of the guy she kills at the beginning of the book just go silent. Would that really happen?

· We thought they'll have something with Muhtar. It would have been beautiful *laughs.* Some patients actually do crush on the care-giver.

· We didn't like the blatant favoritism the mom had for Ayoola.

Fofky's Book Club:

· Korede did that because love can be so hopeless at times. Korede perhaps thought she had a chance. He was lucky. He got his life but he lost something big!

· We have this feeling that Muhtar will show up at her work one day if she doesn't call him within a certain period of time *laughs.*

· Petty crimes are actually a thing and are the hardest crimes to detect or solve because the people involved are petty crime professionals. Not saying that murder is petty but the vengeance and what leads to murder are usually petty differences and vengeances. They are the best mind-bogglers because the readers expect grand schemes, and their minds are blown away by how simple revenge can be plotted.

· Many parents do behave like Ayoola's mom. That wasn't a surprise to us.

· We only have the POV of Korede in the book. If we could experience things from Ayoola's POV or even FROM the other characters's opinions, we would have gotten more insights; especially if Ayoola killed Gboyega or IF his wife colluded to eliminate him...

5. What question (s) do you have for the author?

Umm Ayman's Library:

· Is there a sequel? If yes, are we still gonna be kept in suspense or do we get all our questions answered?

The author: There isn’t a sequel at the moment; but maybe one day in the future, I will revisit Korede and Ayoola’s story. For now, I’d like to write something different.

· Is the story an exaggeration of a REAL story?

The author: No, it is completely made up.

· What inspired her to write it, and what inspired the title?

The author: It was the black widow spider that gave me the idea for this story. The female spider is slightly larger than the male and if after mating, she is hungry, she will eat him. It got me thinking about a woman who recklessly took the lives of men.

As for the title, my agent came up with the title.

· Did Korede find true love? She is good(loyal.)

The author: Not in this story, but maybe someday she will.

Fofky's Book Club:

· Is there a chance that Ayoola and Korede, especially Ayoola, that they are possessed by a spirit? They have all the signs.

The author: They are not possessed, though that is definitely an interesting angle.

· While growing up, was Aunt Taiwo physically abused by her twin brother; Ayoola and Korede's father?

The author: Perhaps she was, though I didn’t really think of it that when I was writing about them.

· Did she have any past boyfriends that she killed in the book in the writer's way *laughs*?

The author: A lady never tells!

·Haha! Did Ayoola kill Gboye and/or did his wife collude in the plot?

The author: Gboye’s wife was not involved. It is up to you to decide if Ayoola killed him.

6. What questions about the book do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?

Umm Ayman's Library:

· How do you think Ayoola would get caught?

· Do you think love eventually happens for Korede?

· Parenting and its influence on children.

· Do you think Korede should have confessed her love to the doctor? Why does the lady have to keep waiting until the "guy" says he likes her *sighs."

· Don't you think Ayoola should have paid for what she did?

Fofky's Book Club:

· Death grazed her, and she will die instead in our opinion. However, any detective who picks up on the angel of death pattern of Ayoola and duly follows the news can bait and expose her. It's only a matter of time if she is not killed first.

· Sure, if that man is Muhtar. However, a man who is looking for "the typical African wife material" could make her believe that he loves her so that he could use her as his servant wife since she is a great cook.

· Raising children is not easy. It's very easy to nurture them, and it's very easy to traumatize them. We believe that Ayoola had PTSD. Every time she feels like a fight is about to happen, she reacts before she is the victim. Her issues certainly stem from her childhood.

· Korede is a go-getter, and the doctor's reaction was typical.

· Yes. But Ayoola is damaged, and many crimes go unpunished in this life.

Rating: 4/5

Favorite Quote: "The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder."— Jim Morrisson

This was fun! Alhamdullilah.

Thank you everyone!

Rajab 1441 AH / March 2020's Book Club Pick will be a recap insha'Allah.

Book Club Questions :

1. What did you like most?

2. What gave you pause?

3. What didn't you like?

4. What are your other thoughts?

5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)?

6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?

We look forward to hearing from you.

G E T  I N  T O U C H !


Books, Teas & Coffees

Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen.


The Fofky's Book Club in partnership with Umm Ayman's Library.

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