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My Friend Dahmer [Kindle Edition]

Derf Backderf
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $24.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Paperback $13.56  
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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Derf Backderf has been nominated for two Eisner Awards and received a host of journalism honors. He has published a number of previous graphic novels and has been consistently published in both magazines and newspapers across America.

Product Details

  • File Size: 41439 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams ComicArts (August 29, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00807L3WY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,792 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling, Disturbing February 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I didn't intend to read this all in one sitting. I put it down once, because I was deeply, deeply perturbed and needed a minute to collect my thoughts. Then I picked it back up and read for a couple more hours. It's not just Dahmer that's upsetting. In fact, he becomes a consequence of an inattentive, uncaring system. Seeing authority figures fail to execute their duties, and the consequent existence of the Dahmer who became infamous, was the truly upsetting part for me. Memoir, horror, tragedy, true-crime, perverse coming-of-age,My Friend Dahmer is chilling.

I'm very careful recommending comics works to those that don't read many comics. This is an obvious pick. And if you do read comics regularly...why haven't you purchased this yet?
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping February 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing, very personal memoir of a high-school nobody who is now remembered as a monster. It in no way absolves Dahmer, but it humanizes him to the extent where we can see him as a person. Not that we can see what went on in his head, but the context in which he lost it. This is a very personal story, but Derf has filled it in with outside research (without stepping out of the personal story) and the (text) timeline at the end fills in the horror story for those who don't know any or all the story.
I've been reading Derf for ages, and he's one of my favorites. I love his comix. His other book Punk Rock and Trailer Parks is a boisterous remembering of the punk era in the 80s. My Friend Dahmer is not happy or uplifting. But it's a gripping story of alienation, neglect and everyday inattention.
All the characters you remember from high school are in this book. And also a serial killer.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, riveting, but also flawed March 30, 2012
Format:Paperback
First off, let me just say that I couldn't put this book down. It was both fascinating and disturbing and fulfilled that strange curiosity that comes up whenever you read an account of someone so disturbed that they engage in the most heinous acts imaginable. How could they be that way? What must go wrong inside of them to allow them to do such things? And what were they like as teenagers? Well, that last question may not be typical, and it was only after reading the premise of the book that I really thought about it. Would there be signs at that age? What is the reaction of people close to such psychopaths to learn about the reality that lies behind the mask of sanity?

Well, in that department, My Friend Dahmer delivers. There's plenty an anecdote to inspire nervous laughter, wide-eyed disbelief, and stunned disappointment at all the missed opportunities that might have prevented such a despicable spree of murder. Dahmer's antics in high school were odd, to say the least, and betrayed very early on a remarkable lack of empathy and capacity for manipulation, as well as the growth of the necrophiliac desires that would prompt his many murders.

But I think it's in Dahmer's capacity for manipulation that the book suffers. It seems to me that even with the benefit of hindsight, Backderf might be buy into Dahmer's story of himself a tad too much. Backderf (but he's not the only one) presents what he believes to be the motivation and psychological history that led to the man Dahmer became: a broken home, absent parents, strange and shameful desires. It's a story that inspires pity (but not necessarily compassion, as Backderf himself writes). But is it the truth? After all the reading I've done on psychopathy and character disorders, I highly doubt it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Ambiguous & Beautifully Drawn December 23, 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is exactly why I keep picking up random graphic works to see what is going on out there in the land of people who draw books, instead of writing them -- every so often, I hit one that is completely brilliant, one that does what no number of words could do, one that simply captures the weird that exists in everyday scenes.....the artist here is not trying to do the definitive work on what makes a serial killer what he is - he's simply trying to recount what he saw of this strange tragic creature as he was growing up with him....the book ends up being brilliantly ambiguous precisely because it depicts in considerable detail what formed J Dahmer, and how all that specificity still does not "explain" Dahmer...that degree of ambiguity is left for the reader to bring to the story, the artist simply tells his story and leaves it for the reader to glean what he/she may. The critique of this book, that it does not answer all the questions about Dahmer, is precisely what makes it so great -- it is not trying to be definitive. And the less I say about the drawing, the better, because I understand so little of what Scott McCloud has taught us about "cartooning" -- but like Potter Stewart's comment on pornography, I can't define great drawing, but I know it when I see it, and this is IT. Get it, read it, in one sitting, and come away profoundly disturbed - it won't leave you untouched, which is perhaps the point of "art"....
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of a twisted soul February 12, 2012
Format:Paperback
People seeking blood and gore shouldn't buy this book. People who are interested in crime - specifically, in the origins of crime, will find it extremely interesting. Thoroughly researched and impressively illustrated, this graphic novel explores Dahmer's history from junior high school up until just after the end of high school, when he committed his first murder. Some surprising facts are unearthed here...such as the fact that Dahmer, during one of his last periods of normalcy, was able to arrange a meeting with Walter Mondale while on a school trip to Washington, D.C. I am a fan of Derf's work, even though this is a departure from his usual style of humorous storytelling, but I found the book nonetheless to be extremely captivating and I in fact, read the whole thing in one sitting. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, creepy, wonderful in its own way. Certainly gripping
This is the personal tale of how a kid who was weird throughout his teens was ignored by all the adults around him until he developed into the infamous sexually assaulting murderer... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Lisa Fontes
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
This book humanized a monster. I actually felt sorry for young Dahmer as he struggles with his sexually and confusion of what to do with his desires. Read more
Published 17 days ago by PattiSchu
3.0 out of 5 stars Too fluffy
Pretty enjoyable. The style reminded me a lot of Spain Rodreguez, solid but wooden.

Crumb's blurb on the front hit the nail on the head about the creepy '70s culture,... Read more
Published 21 days ago by S. Clark
4.0 out of 5 stars Serial killers are humans too
First, reading about the lives of serial killers is one of my guilty pleasures. On first read my impression was, just because you're friends with a serial killer for a few years... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary P. Rayme
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
I liked every aspect of the book: it provided a thorough analysis into Jeffrey Dahmer's earlier experiences, which may help explain or better understand his actions later on in his... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stephanie Kades
3.0 out of 5 stars Graphic Storytelling
Who would have thought anyone could come up with a sympathetic story of Jeffery Dahmer? Backderf succeds. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ken Orr
5.0 out of 5 stars Jeffrey Dahmer
This graphic novel apparently sees Jeffrey Dahmer from a different perspective. The concept is so interesting that I am looking forward to borrowing the book from the gift... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. M. McNulty
5.0 out of 5 stars From Disturbed Kid to Monstrous Serial Killer
If you read my reviews regularly you'll know I read a lot of serial killer books, both fiction and true crime. I have never read about Jeffrey Dahmer before though. On purpose. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nicola Manning-Mansfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand something about Dahmer (and all serial killers?) that...
This is heartbreaking and personal. Instead of bringing the story to life, most news outlets simplified this sort of story down and killed whatever humanity there was left to see... Read more
Published 4 months ago by David Fonseca
5.0 out of 5 stars love it.
I loved this graphic novel. I read it in a couple of hours and then was sad it was over.
Published 4 months ago by Brittany
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