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MY FREIND DAHMER By Derf Backderf April 17, 2012

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

       This book really makes the reader think. Backderf, a high school acquaintance of Jeffrey Dahmer, was haunted by old memories the moment he first heard about Dahmer’s crimes. He was compelled to relate the story of the high school loner who exhibited plenty of signs of being troubled and constantly reeked with the smell of alcohol. But there were no adults who took or the time or trouble to intervene for a lonely troubled boy. The author stresses he pitied Jeffrey, but did not empathize with him. And this reader, too, pities him. The account is very disturbing, and it is incredibly creepy how alone Dahmer was. Dahmer stated in an interview that he had normal friendships in high school, but there wasn’t anyone in the school who had considered him a friend. Agatha Christie once said, “Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend,” but she obviously didn’t know Dahmer.

     The graphic novel, complete with really great art work, tells the story of Dahmer’s high school life and how he hung on the fringes of being in the same social group as the author. But something about him kept the rest of the group a few steps removed.  Dahmer’s parents argued constantly and he was even left totally alone in the house when his mother took off with his younger brother. The author goes into a rather righteous tirade about Dahmer. He feels he stopped being a tragic figure when he began to kill. He said he was driven by selfishness, and goes on to psychoanalyse him. Tragic is the only word to describe this life, though, from beginning to end, and the fact that he took lives was wrong, it was awful. But here stands a stellar example of how to treat a kid to make him a serial killer.

     To sum up the book, the author added a quotation that is worth sharing. While telling his tale, Dahmer said of his life, “This is the grand finale of a life poorly spent and the end result is just overwhelmingly depressing. A sick, pathetic, miserable life story, that’s all it is.” Read this book, but be warned. It may keep you up at night.



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