My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

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Includes eBook exclusive bonus material! 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.

About Derf Backderf

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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.
Published August 29, 2012 by Abrams ComicArts. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Comics & Graphic Novels. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Friend Dahmer

Kirkus Reviews

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It also shows how he was shaken by his parents’ troubled marriage and tempestuous divorce, by his emotionally disturbed mother’s decision to move away and leave her son alone, and by the encouragement of the Jeffrey Dahmer Fan Club (with the author a charter member and ringleader) to turn the out...

Jan 01 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

Publishers Weekly

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During the 1970s in Ohio, he attended high school with and befriended Jeffrey Dahmer, “the loneliest kid I’d ever met.” Backderf and his social misfit crew drift in and out of Dahmer’s story, which the author pieced together from memories and more recent research.

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

Kirkus Reviews

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He said, “I can either call your parents right now, or you can accept 10 licks.” Dahmer chose the paddling, and he [Neil] told me later how much it hurt [Dahmer]… Neil told me that he ran into Dahmer right after it happened… Another one Neil just told me was that he and Dahmer went to an outdoor...

Mar 06 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

The Bookbag

It isn't, and never tries to be, a full biography of a serial killer - but it is still very interesting to see how a guy called Jeff becomes a man called Jeffrey Dahmer, from the point of view of a guy who went to high school with him, and shared his formative years.

Dec 06 2011 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

The Columbus Dispatch

(He was convicted of 15 and killed in prison.) My Friend Dahmer is framed in the years that Derf and Dahmer shared the halls of junior high and high school.

May 10 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

We Love This Book

Rather, turn to it for a brilliantly designed graphic novel from a schoolfriend of Jeffrey Dahmer - the serial killer who tortured and killed 17 men and boys - who concentrates on the man’s formative years and leaves enough open to conjecture, without ever making his subject praiseworthy or excused.

Jan 03 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

Bookmarks Magazine

—Alison Bechdel, author and illustrator of Fun Home, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist

"My Friend Dahmer is a brilliant graphic novel and surely ranks among the very best of the form.

Feb 26 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

Starburst Magazine

The first fourteen panels of My Friend Dahmer are fantastically sinister, depicting Dahmer's discovery of a dead cat and subsequent dissolution of the creature using a pickle jar and acid.

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In My Friend Dahmer (Abrams, $25), written by his high school acquaintance Derf Backderf, you can see Dahmer made fun of as a troubled teenager while he staggers drunk through high school and fakes having seizures to amuse his small circle of "friends," who tolerate him so they can laugh at him.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

ForeWord Reviews

In the hands of a less talented creator, My Friend Dahmer would find its place alongside other “True Crime” books, volumes that mostly give readers the gory details in superheated prose, but which provide little insight into how such monsters are born.

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Lambda Literary

The book’s span actually encompasses only the first murder Dahmer committed – a hitchhiker Dahmer killed the summer after graduation.

Apr 22 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

Willamette Week

His exiguous memories only hint at Dahmer’s warped psyche (actually, he thought Dahmer to be his class’ second-most likely serial killer), but they’re the door to the book’s most interesting dynamic, which is how Derf reprocesses things upon learning his friend’s fridge held a human head.

Apr 11 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

The Coast

Back in the 1970s Jeffrey Dahmer and Derf Backderf were friends and high school classmates in rural Bath, Ohio.

Dec 20 2012 | Read Full Review of My Friend Dahmer

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