Some Friend


"My Friend Dahmer" by Derf Backderf is a very powerful graphic novel about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Using his own memories of encounters in middle school and high school, Backderf looks into the formation of one of America's most notorious murderers.

Backderf was one of the founding members of the Dahmer Fan Club, a group of teen boys who used their classmate's bizarre behavior for their amusement and as a motif for their adolescent shenanigans. Thus, Backderf has an important perspective that is ably conveyed in this book.

Dahmer is quoted as saying, "When I was a kid, I was just like anybody else." Backderf blows that assertion out of the water by recounting various instances wherein Dahmer dissolves, dissects or destroys animal carcasses.

Backderf looks for causes and for someone to blame. He comes down hard on the adults in Dahmer's life--the parents, teachers, and police who should have noticed that the kid was more than just odd. No doubt, clues were missed. Yet Backderf, by doing so, opens the issue of his own role in Dahmer's life. When the Dahmer Fan Club tired of Jeff's weirdness, they dropped him without explanation.

Dahmer's crimes were so warped that no one could have predicted them. Perhaps no amount of therapy could have prevented Dahmer from his descent into insanity.  It is impossible to consider him without wondering.



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