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“My Friend Dahmer” by Derf Backderf

Sunday, August 16, 2015 - Book Reading
“My Friend Dahmer” by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I was a bit disappointed in this book. I was hoping for a memoir, of sorts, from someone who had actually been friends with Jeffrey Dahmer. Instead I read a graphic novel, wonderful in it’s own way, titled “My Friend Dahmer” where the author spends large portions of the story saying “we weren’t really friends, but I’m probably as close as he got so I’ll claim it.”

But at school, Jeff, for the first time, had friends. OK, he was more mascot than pal. He was, after all, a pretty strange kid. But he’s always been a nonentity. Now he was the center of attentions!

Yeah, he called Dahmer a mascot and not a friend. Now, I get it, sometimes the weird ones are hard to really consider friends. I’m fairly weird, so I’m pretty sure I was this person for some people. I even had a few of these “friends” myself, but I never called them my friends. They were acquaintances. But I guess “My Acquaintance Dahmer” wasn’t as catchy a book title, huh?

Regardless of my issues with the title, I was fascinated by the story and was thrilled that it was in graphic novel format. The artwork works well with the story being portrayed and, as tragic and graphic as this story is, it is probably one I would include on a required reading list. If it makes enough of a difference in one person’s perspective to turn that awkward mascot into a real friend, then it’s done it’s job. It’s only more heartbreaking to know that if an adult had just taken a bit more time and noticed something was up that Dahmer might not have turned into a killer, let alone a serial killer.

This book was so hard to put down that I was actually reading it while sewing – not an easy feat I might add! I recommended this book, already, to my mother and will be making sure my youngest brother (in eighth grade) reads it. This was a used bookstore find and, while I had heard of the book before, I had never bothered to look into getting my own copy because I was under the impression it would be just like every other “I knew random famous/infamous person before you did so I really did know them” and in a lot of ways it was because, like I said, this guy wasn’t really friends with Dahmer like the title suggests, but it is written as a graphic novel, which is different, and he even admits in the book that Dahmer wasn’t really his friend. Sooo… Props for honesty within the book if not the title, but I did still knock off half a star (a whole star on the goodreads site) for that because it was extremely disappointing for me to discover it was “My Acquaintance Dahmer.”

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