Thicker than Water explores a new kind of family dysfunction.
Thicker Than Water
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Genre: Thriller, Romance
Thicker than Water, a novella set in Nigeria is the story of two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Ayoola is the “pretty one” and we see that as she stops every man in the novel in their tracks. She turns heads and apparently is able to score any man she pleases. Korede on the other hand is “ugly”. According to her, a “black face character” compared to her sister’s “Bratz doll” looks. The catch is that Ayoola has a thing for killing men and then getting Korede to clean up her mess. The story opens after Ayoola’s latest kill, Femi. Korede is worryingly content to be a murder accomplice until Tade becomes involved with Ayoola. Tade is Korede’s workmate on whom she’s had a crush forever.
HASHTAG SOCIAL MEDIA JUSTICE
Tade is not the first man Ayoola is involved with. Her first boyfriend (and murder victim) suffered his end when she was only seventeen. I enjoyed Braithwaite’s use of social media in the story after Femi’s death because the truth is we are a generation of social media users. From social media call for justice hashtags by Femi’s sister to Snapchat videos sharing her story, it is impossible to miss the relevance of social media to the average millennial. We cannot ignore social media in our stories anymore when it is such a large part of lives.
HOW THICK IS OUR BLOOD?
Thicker Than Water especially probes how far we will go for family and how ‘thick’ blood runs. The relationship between both girls and their father merits deeper consideration and is something I would’ve liked to read more about. Their father’s character should also have received more attention as it appears some of their issues stem from him. Their mother however blatantly favors the “prettier” daughter, believes she can do no harm and appoints Korede her caretaker, even before Korede is old enough to care for her own self. Parents seem to miss the fact that although older children can and should help out at home (including babysitting), older children are kids too.
I was frequently irritated by the constant reiteration of Ayoola’s physical beauty, even though I understand what the author was trying to make clear. It’s unfortunate that society does set the standard for what is beautiful and what is not. The sole redeeming thing about Ayoola to me, is her apparent understanding of the general way most men think. The men in this story are mostly shallow, their expressions glib and empty. Only this could explain how Tade completely misses (or pretends to miss) the fact that Korede is obviously attracted to him after she even cooked him lunch! (WHY do (Nigerian) women do this by the way?!).
In summary, Thicker Than Water underlines the fact that men often are superficial and really do not know what they want in a woman. As gross a generalization as that appears, it really is true at least six times out of ten.
Braithwaite’s Thicker Than Water makes for fine noir fiction that raises worrying questions. Why does Korede continue to clean up Ayoola’s mess time after time? Perhaps the darkness that runs in Ayoola’s blood also flows in hers as well? It is easy to pretend to be backed into a corner or have your hands tied when you’re really just doing what you actyally want to be doing.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this. It’s a really quick read that will hold you captive until the last word. Thicker Than Water left me questioning how far I would be willing to go for family.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars.
Is blood thicker than water for you? Would you help a loved one bury a body? I want to know! Have you read this book? What did you think?