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The Resource My friend Dahmer : a graphic novel, written & illustrated by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman]

My friend Dahmer : a graphic novel, written & illustrated by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman]

Label
My friend Dahmer : a graphic novel
Title
My friend Dahmer
Title remainder
a graphic novel
Statement of responsibility
written & illustrated by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman]
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"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 [this story], 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."--Amazon.com
Tone
Writing style
Illustration
Award
  • Alex Award, 2013.
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens, 2013.
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2015.
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2013.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Readers of Derf Backderf’s the City strip in various alt-weeklies will immediately recognize his visual style (flattened landscapes and blocky characters who look uncomfortable in their own skin), but not the content in this visceral, ambitious new graphic novel. Instead of the City’s surreal, satirical ennui, Backderf explores a hard-to-believe autobiographical story. 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. It’s a barbed-wire portrait of a devil-minded teen with divorcing and neglectful parents. He slices up roadkill to see what it looks like, gets attention in school by doing imitations of cerebral palsy victims, and swims in alcohol to drown out his violent urges. 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 (the sections about how he and his friends encourage Dahmer’s spaz shtick while still excluding him make for brutal reading) and quietly horrifying. A small, dark classic. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed January 2, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 01, p)
  • Backderf went to high school with Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious serial killer who murdered 17 people, dabbling in cannibalism and necrophilia en route. With growing gay attractions he couldn't talk about, distant and combative parents, and limited social skills with peers, Dahmer was a kid who imitated cerebral palsy victims to get anybody to notice him. Indeed, perhaps "friend" isn't the right word for Backderf's relationship to Dahmer, since the kids who talked to Dahmer did so mainly to laugh at his weird performances or to torment him. There's no graphic crime or murder in this story, just the creepiness of how Dahmer's loneliness and insanity snuck up on him while eluding the adults who should have helped. Backderf's intentionally ungainly black-and-white art underscores the universal awkwardness of adolescence, and the approach has emotional resonance even if Dahmer must have been rather nice looking, judging from later photos. VERDICT 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, teen up.— M.C. --Martha Cornog (Reviewed May 15, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 09, p65)
  • /* Starred Review */ A powerful, unsettling use of the graphic medium to share a profoundly disturbing story. If a boy is not born a monster, how does he become one? Though Backderf (Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, 2008) was once an Ohio classmate of the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer, he doesn't try to elicit sympathy for "Jeff." Yet he walks an emotional tightrope here, for he recognizes that someone--maybe the other kids who laughed at and with him, certainly the adults who should have recognized aberration well beyond tortured adolescence--should have done something. "To you Dahmer was a depraved fiend but to me he was a kid I sat next to in study hall and hung out with in the band room," writes the author, whose dark narrative proceeds to show how Dahmer's behavior degenerated from fascination with roadkill and torture of animals to repressed homosexuality and high-school alcoholism to mass murder. 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 outcast into a freak show. The more that Dahmer drank to numb his life, the more oblivious adults seemed to be, letting him disappear between the cracks. "It's my belief that Dahmer didn't have to wind up a monster, that all those people didn't have to die horribly, if only the adults in his life hadn't been so inexplicably, unforgivably, incomprehensibly clueless and/or indifferent," writes Backderf. "Once Dahmer kills, however--and I can't stress this enough--my sympathy for him ends." An exemplary demonstration of the transformative possibilities of graphic narrative.(Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10083486
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Derf
Dewey number
741.5/973
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
LC call number
PN6727.D466
LC item number
M9 2012
Literary form
fiction
Nature of contents
comics graphic novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Dahmer, Jeffrey
Label
My friend Dahmer : a graphic novel, written & illustrated by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman]
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. 200-220)
Contents
Preface: the convoluted history of 'My friend Dahmer' -- Prologue -- pt. 1. The strange boy -- pt. 2. A secret life -- pt. 3. The Dahmer fan club -- pt. 4. Becoming the monster -- pt. 5. Fade to black -- Epilogue
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
221 p.
Isbn
9781419702167
Isbn Type
(hc)
Lccn
2011285306
Other physical details
ill.
System control number
(OCoLC)746316123
Label
My friend Dahmer : a graphic novel, written & illustrated by Derf Backderf ; [editor, Charles Kochman]
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. 200-220)
Contents
Preface: the convoluted history of 'My friend Dahmer' -- Prologue -- pt. 1. The strange boy -- pt. 2. A secret life -- pt. 3. The Dahmer fan club -- pt. 4. Becoming the monster -- pt. 5. Fade to black -- Epilogue
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
221 p.
Isbn
9781419702167
Isbn Type
(hc)
Lccn
2011285306
Other physical details
ill.
System control number
(OCoLC)746316123

Library Locations

    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797
    • Grantville BranchBorrow it
      100 Park Drive, Grantville, GA, 30220, US
      33.2371000 -84.835615

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