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My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer
Derf Backderf
Abrams Books, 2012
Source: Library
Audience: Older Teens, Adults

From Goodreads:
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.

I can’t imagine living life so close to a serial killer. This graphic novel made emphasized the points in Dahmer’s life when things could have happened to prevent him from becoming a serial killer. It’s unfortunate that no one saw his struggles and could intervene. My Friend Dahmer definitely taught the lesson that if someone notices something off about someone, that person should speak up. Going into reading this, I didn’t know much about Dahmer, just that he was an awful serial killer. I learned about the horrible things that he did in his early life, and I appreciated that the author broke down where he got his facts. After finishing the book, I definitely felt sad and disturbed. Hopefully, we can prevent more people from doing the things that he did.