My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was just, WOW.
I read the whole thing in about 5 hours. I couldn’t put it down. We’re talking about the stay-in-the-same-ratty-tshirt-and-pajama-pants-and-don’t-shower-what-the-hell-I’m-not-even-getting-out-if-this-fusty-bed-that-needs-to-be-changed kind of couldn’t put it down. I was only able to eat because I have a husband who will bring me stuff when I ask nicely.
Bonus: I know next to nothing of Nigerian culture, so included in that 5 hours are several side trips down various rabbit holes of fruit, lagoons and bridges, and recipes. I love rabbit holes like that.
The only bad thing, that is also a good thing, is that it made me remember my own sister, dead 23 years now (inasmuch as I can “remember” her given that I miss her every single fucking day, still), and the until-now forgotten fact that I once committed an actual crime to keep my sister from having to answer for her own. And I’d do it again.
Sisters, I’m tellin’ ya.
This book was #3 on my 2020 Reading Challenge, a book that passes the Bechdel test. I don’t buy many books because I don’t have a lot of space, but I bought this one, because there’s just something about waiting to board a plane that makes me want to buy a book. I usually donate them later, but this is one I will actually keep.
Bookshelves: reading-in-airports, africa, women, dark-humor, chick-lit, literary-fiction
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Girl at the Edge by Karen Dietrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this title from Grand Central Publishing via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!
In a nutshell, this is a story about nature vs nurture. Our hero, Evelyn, is the teenage daughter of a mass killer awaiting execution, grappling with the enormity of her father’s crimes, the notoriety that has made her another of his victims, and the horrifying question of whether his capacity for evil is genetic.
Let’s get what I didn’t really care for out of the way, with my disclaimer. The writing style is what I’ve come to think of as “MFA style,” where every thought is uber described with lots of poetic analogies. That’s just not my favorite–I’m more of an Elmore Leonard girl. I do acknowledge that my failure to appreciate this style is far more likely a failing on my part, rather than the writer’s.
What I did like – virtually everything, even with a writing style that isn’t my favorite. Everything came together for a story I thoroughly enjoyed. The premise sucked me in and I liked Evelyn right off the bat. I was reading happily when things started to get darker and deeper, which made me even happier. The pacing was great with no dragging; I could feel the Florida humidity and smell the flowers and salt breeze; Evelyn’s voice was clear and true; the supporting cast was spot-on; and I appreciated the nod to LGBT acceptance. Although the narrator’s youth gave the story a YA feel–which I don’t mind at all, even as an old lady myself–some of the subject matter (substance use, somewhat explicit sex) makes me think this is for older teens and up. I stayed up too late on a school night so I could finish it, and I’m not sorry.
I see this is Karen Dietrich’s first novel and I’m hoping she writes more. If she writes them, I’ll read them.
Bookshelves: ya, current-social-issues, coming-of-age, grittiest-reality, lgbt-inclusion
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