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Praise for My Friend Dahmer:
"The tone is sympathetic and enraged (‘Where were the damn adults?’), while not excusing or making the story unduly fascinating. Backderf’s writing is impeccably honest in not exculpating his own misdeeds . . . and quietly horrifying. A small, dark classic." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)?
"One of the best graphic novels I've read this year." -- USA Today's PopCandy
"One of the most thought-provoking comics released in a long time." -- Slate.com?
"Carefully researched and sourced with ample back matter, Backderf’s tragic chronicle of what shouldn’t have been is a real butt-kicker for educators and youth counselors as well as peers of other potential Dahmers. Highly recommended for professionals as well as true crime readers." —Library Journal
"This isnt a cautionary tale. Its insight sharedinsight arriving too late to save Dahmers victims, let alone Jeff himself, but perhaps soon enough to remind both teens and their caretakers that questioning peculiar behavior might be a better tack than ignoring or exploiting it." -- School Library Journal?
"Fortunately, cartoonist Derf Backderf isn't one to avoid the troubling, even terrifying, truths that lurk in the dark recesses of that notorious serial killer's early lifeand modern American life itself." -- Foreword Reviews
"A powerful, unsettling use of the graphic medium to share a profoundly disturbing story. . . . An exemplary demonstration of the transformative possibilities of graphic narrative." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Masterful. . . a rich tale full of complexity and sensitivity . . . There's something about Dahmer's life and crimes that seems almost crafted for treatment in the murky world of comix. Yet it's empathy and nuance, not gore, that put My Friend Dahmer alongside Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and David Small's Stitches in the annals of illustrated literature." —Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A new classic of the graphic novel genre. . . . A moving book that qualifies as one of the great graphic novels, a work of art." —Creative Loafing
"A well-told, powerful story. Backderf is quite skilled in using comics to tell this tale of a truly weird and sinister 1970s adolescent world."?—R. Crumb?
"Anyone who opens My Friend Dahmer to satisfy a morbid curiosity, and likewise anyone who expects to find no more than a cynical publishing venture here, is bound for disappointment. It is a horrifying read, yes, not so much for what it reveals about the sad early (and inevitably terrible) life of Jeffrey Dahmer, but because of what it reveals about the bland emotional landscape of Middle America, in this vision a petri dish for psychoses in many degrees and forms.?Backderf’s odd stylization, with figures that look like organic robots, is a perfect vehicle for this conception. His graphic approach is grotesque, droll, and it rags on reality as masses of kids knew and still know it.?Lots of books exist about the agonies and cruelty of the adolescent high school experience, but few so compellingly bring us straight into that soulless environment, showing the ways it can shelter, allow to burgeon, and, at the same time, be completely blind to real madness.?It wasn’t easy reading this book, but I’m glad I did."?—David Small, author and illustrator of Stitches, a National Book Award finalist and #1 New York Times bestseller
"Stunning. Horrifying. Beautifully done."?—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. Like Alison Bechdel’sFun Home, the book plumbs a dark autobiographical mystery, trying in retrospect to understand actions and motivations to piece together the makings of a tragedy. Like Charles Burns’s Black Hole, it’s a starkly etched portrait of the horror of high school in the 1970s. Comparisons aside, My Friend Dahmer is entirely original, boldly and beautifully drawn, and full of nuance and complexity and even a strange tenderness. Out of the sordid and grotesque details of Dahmer’s life, Derf has fashioned a moving and complex literary work of art."?—Dan Chaon, award-winning author of Among the Missing and You Remind Me of Me
"Just when you think you know all there is to know about Jeffrey Dahmer— one of the most notorious criminals of the past century—along comes My Friend Dahmer, which adds significantly to our understanding of this rare form of psychopathology. The graphic novel format helps the reader appreciate the adolescent mind-set of Dahmer’s high school classmates. Although none of those who grew up with Dahmer expected to hear what they learned on July 22, 1991, when he was caught, no one was really surprised, either.?This unique book allows the reader to listen in on the fascinating reminiscences of those who watched the developing mind of a future serial killer."?—Louis B. Schlesinger, PhD, Professor of Forensic Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
"It’d be so easy to pigeonhole and think that the reason you can’t stop reading My Friend Dahmer is because it offers a voyeuristic peek inside the monster. And it does. But as it turns its self-aware eye on the boy who doesn’t belong, the real magic trick is how equally hateful and sad you feel for the monster himself. This one’s still haunting me."?—Brad Meltzer, author of Identity Crisis and The Inner Circle, a #1 New York Times bestseller??
"As someone who walked the halls of Revere High School with both Backderf and Dahmer and was there from the beginning, I am astounded by the accuracy and truthfulness of this portrait. I know of no other work that so clearly shows the teenage days of an American monster, long before the rest of the world heard of him. Mesmerizing."?—Mike Kukral, PhD, Revere High School class of 1978, Professor of Geography, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, author of Prague 1989: Theater of Revolution
"If you want to read a heavy story about a disturbing teenager, My Friend Dahmer will certainly quench your dark little desires. But this book is about a lot of other things that matter much, much more: the institutionalized weirdness of the suburban seventies, what it means to be friends with someone you don’t really like, a cogent explanation as to why terrible things happen, and a means for feeling sympathy toward those who don’t seem to deserve it."?—Chuck Klosterman, author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto?and The Visible Man
"A solid job. Putrid serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s origins are explored in this fine book. Dig it—it’ll hang you out to dry."?—James Ellroy, author of My Dark Places and L.A. Confidential
Posted February 19, 2012
I picked this book on a whim because I was currently enrolled in a scientific illustration class and while working on an assignment using the ink medium and I liked the art work and knew a little of Dahmer's story. In high school, all of us know that kid that is more than just a bit off. In college, there even seemed to be more of them. They pass by giving off a constantly odd vibe not only in conversation but in behavior as well. Multiple times, it seemed as if a chance to intervene and change the future might be possible, but this story is not one with a happy ending. If anything it provides a gripping and methodical account of the mental decline of a very lost soul.
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 4, 2013
Imagine one of your high-school friends turned out to be a notorious serial killer. This is exactly what happened to Derf Backderf who went to school with Jeffrey Dahmer and befriended the quirky teen. Backderf documents in stunning detail the early life of this pre-killer, including such gems as a fan club he created for Dahmer while in school. This intimate portrait is fascinating and avoids sensationalizing Dahmer and his monstrous misdeeds. What Backderf presents is a trouble teen and his own struggles in finding answers why Dahmer became who he did. I normally don’t review graphic novels, but once in a while one comes along that transcends all boundaries and My Friend Dahmer is exactly that. A gripping portrayal of high-school misfits who struggle to find their own identities. Highly recommended.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2012
Posted March 10, 2015
Without a doubt the best graphic novel I've ever read. If you're looking for something gory/gruesome to satisfy your sick desires, this is definitely not it. Better yet, this is a profoundly deeper peek at a facet of Dahmer's life only a handful mingled in- a story shown in edgy, dark shades matching up to the edge of the author's unique, raw style of illustration.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2013
Really interesting insight into Dahmer from a high school friends point of view. On top of that, the illustrations in a comic form were the first I've read like that and kept me wanting to read more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2013
Posted December 27, 2012
Posted December 24, 2012
A look into what high school was like for a serial killer. It really only shows what Jeff Dahmer was like in high school but the graphics and story do a nice job. Easy read, maybe an hour, a nice change between other novels.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 2012
An interesting read. Didn't put it down until it was finished, including all the extras at the end. Was disappointed in Barnes & Noble, however, for not specifiying the Nook devices it would work on. Bought it & it wouldn't open on my Nook HD+. Good thing I still have my old Nook Color & it worked on that!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 16, 2012
Posted November 5, 2012
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Posted June 29, 2014
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Posted April 12, 2012
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