Kelly's Reviews > My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
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Jun 08, 12

bookshelves: graphic-novels-and-memoirs, ya-fiction
Read on June 08, 2012

3.5.

A fascinating and sad graphic memoir about Jeffrey Dahmer's teen years. What works so well about this is precisely what Backderf lays out in the introduction: this isn't meant to elicit sympathy for or empathy for Dahmer, but rather, this is about a very mentally unstable individual. Backderf's art and story line work together; one does not outshine the other one. You watch as Dahmer goes from being a social outcast to being wildly ill and deranged. His family life sucked -- especially in light of the social conventions of the mid-1970s -- and Dahmer was a raging alcoholic, to the point he skipped classes to drink.

My one problem with the story was that Backderf was quick to say repeatedly that the adults in Dahmer's life should have done something. While this is true, it's played out so well in the story and art that he didn't need to actually step in and tell the reader this. Good readers would walk away with exactly that.

Longer review to come.
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