My Friend Dahmer: Book summary and reviews of My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer

by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2012
    224 pages
    Genre: Graphic Novels

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Book Summary

You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer - the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper - seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, "Jeff" was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides.

In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche - a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The tone is sympathetic and enraged ('Where were the damn adults?'), while not excusing or making the story unduly fascinating. Backderf's writing is impeccably honest in not exculpating his own misdeeds... and quietly horrifying. A small, dark classic." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. An exemplary demonstration of the transformative possibilities of graphic narrative." - Kirkus Reviews

"A well-told, powerful story. Backderf is quite skilled in using comics to tell this tale of a truly weird and sinister 1970s adolescent world." - R. Crumb

"Anyone who opens My Friend Dahmer to satisfy a morbid curiosity, and likewise anyone who expects to find no more than a cynical publishing venture here, is bound for disappointment. It is a horrifying read, yes, not so much for what it reveals about the sad early (and inevitably terrible) life of Jeffrey Dahmer, but because of what it reveals about the bland emotional landscape of Middle America, in this vision a petri dish for psychoses in many degrees and forms.It wasn't easy reading this book, but I'm glad I did." - David Small, author and illustrator of Stitches, a National Book Award finalist and #1 New York Times bestseller

"Stunning. Horrifying. Beautifully done." - Alison Bechdel, author and illustrator of Fun Home, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist

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Derf Backderf has been nominated for two Eisner Awards and has received a host of honors, including the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for political cartooning. His weekly comic strip, The City, has appeared in more than 100 newspapers over the past 22 years. Backderf lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Read his blog online at www.derfcity.com.

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