Vinod Peris's Reviews > My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
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Aug 27, 12

Read in August, 2012

The radio was on, and one of the pleasures of NPR is that they have such pleasant and soothing voices that are easy to let in one ear and out the other. Derf Backderf's voice is made for NPR and it was hard to tell the difference between the interviewer and the author, but one thing caught my attention: Jeffrey Dahmer grew up near Richfield, OH. This might not mean anything to most of you, but to me, it was startling, because one of my engineering teams is located in Richfield, and no-one had told me about this little trivia before.

The novel is graphic, both in the literal and figurative sense. The premise is simple. Derf had the pleasure or misfortune of going to school with Jeffrey and recollects his quirky years in high-school. It gets you back to the culture of the seventies where teenage drinking wasn't the taboo that it is today. There isn't much insight into Jeffrey's life at home, except for some oblique references to the fact that it was a dysfunctional environment. Since the novel is mostly pictures, so you can read it in 20 mins, which probably is not the right way to read it. The graphics are dark but very well done and I am sure if I wasn't so eager to turn the pages, I would have spent a lot more time admiring Derf's detailed rendering of high-school in the seventies suburbia. The author tells a compelling story of Jeffrey's childhood and how he was ignored by his parents, his classmates, teachers and neighbors. It begs the question, "would Jeffrey have turned out different if *anyone* showed him some love" ?

I highly recommend reading this book. If you don't like it, you have only lost 20 minutes of your life.
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