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review 2018-02-28 19:23
Jeffrey Dahmer: The Early Years
My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf is a graphic novel which was used as the basis for the documentary film of the same name which came out in 2017. This is the account of Jeffrey "Jeff" Dahmer during his adolescence in Ohio from the point-of-view of his friend, Derf. [A/N: I would say "friend" is pushing it as it was frequently noted throughout the book that while a group of boys dubbed themselves The Dahmer Fan Club and imitated him/quoted him on multiple occasions Jeff was rarely (if ever) asked to hang out with them.] Derf talks about Jeff's home life which was as you'd expect: turbulent and troubling. His parents had an argumentative, unhealthy relationship and his mother in particular monopolized much of the attention in the home making it possible for Jeff's habits to remain under the radar. Jeff was an alcoholic from a very early age and somehow this went  unnoticed by the adults in his life including his teachers. However, Derf says that it was common knowledge among the kids at school that he was often drunk in class and looking back it was most likely a coping mechanism against his darker impulses. Besides his unhappy home life, he was struggling with his sexuality as a gay man and his sexual fantasies which revolved around having total (i.e. sexual) control over male corpses. He managed to keep this urge in check by murdering animals, skinning them, and keeping their bones in a shed behind his house. And yet no one had any idea this was happening. Hindsight is 20/20 and Derf seems to employ this readily when explaining that he and the other boys in the Dahmer Fan Club "knew" something wasn't right with Jeff which is why they often didn't invite him to be a part of their group activities. His parents were too caught up in their imploding marriage and his teachers seemed to have turned a blind eye even when he imitated people having epileptic fits to comic effect in their classrooms. (This bothered me a lot by the way.) 


I found the informative background knowledge on a serial killer that I knew little about quite interesting but the artwork (remember this is a graphic novel) was not my cup of tea. It was the faces which I really didn't like. Perhaps that was artistic license since Dahmer tended to dehumanize his victims. I just know that it brought me out of the narrative more often than not. I'll give it a 7/10 overall because it was almost too unbelievable to be true. If you enjoy true crime and find the evolution of serial killers to be fascinating then you'd be remiss not to check this one out.


The fits. [Source: American Book Center]


What's Up Next: Mine Own Executioner by Nigel Balchin


What I'm Currently Reading: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2014-05-12 18:25
Really, A Comic About Dahmer??
My Friend Dahmer (2002) - One Shot Young Jeffrey Dahmer - John Backderf Derf

Well, it's a graphic novel of course. I was skeptical when I picked it up because I am not a huge fan of graphic novels. And of course not of Jeffrey Dahmer either. But the book is by a childhood friend turned graphic novelist. It follows Dahmer's life from 7th grade though shortly after high school graduation. It does not include graphic descriptions of the crimes he would commit shortly thereafter. There are some grisly references, though. The main them is how no adult intervened to try to offer help or guidance to this boy. He was ignored by his parents, his teachers, and other school staff. No one seemed to care that he was drunk and actively drinking at high school every day. This was the seventies and I'd like to think educators are more watchful now. But the kid who blends in can still slip through the cracks. It's worth a check-out and read if the topic is of interest. I think it's fine for junior high and up and know there are kids who would really pick this book up for the sensationalism but maybe stay with it for the message. The author does not spare his sense of guilt that he and his friends were enablers in Dahmer's odd behavior and never brought him to the attention of adults in their lives.

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review 2014-02-18 11:04
Lo sguardo del Diavolo, Andrea Franco. Recensione
Lo sguardo del diavolo: Jeffrey Dahmer: 1 (Serial Killer) - Andrea Franco
Lo sguardo del diavolo: la vera storia di Jeffrey Dahmer di Andrea Franco fa parte di Serial Killer; una collana, edita dalla Delos Digital, di monografie in ebook dedicate esclusivamente agli assassini seriali. Poteva, la sottoscritta, che da grande voleva fare la criminologa come il cinquanta percento delle fanciulle italiane, lasciarsi sfuggire questa lettura? 
Le circa novanta pagine che compongono il romanzo sulla vita di Dahmer, complice la scrittura ineccepibile dell'autore, si consumano in un giorno di lettura continuata. In effetti è difficile staccare gli occhi dal kobo finché non si arriva alla parola fine. Merito non soltanto della capacità narrativa di Franco, ma anche della sua abilità nel calarsi nei panni del Serial Killer in questione, catturando frammenti di un'esistenza affamata di oscurità attraverso episodi di vita familiare, dall'infanzia al momento della cattura fino agli ultimi istanti di vita.
Non ci sono tracce di pietismo o di condanna, anzi, la narrazione di Franco è neutrale, quasi priva di tono. Riuscendo, in questo modo, a far capire, più di decine di trattati sul fenomeno degli omicidi seriali, l'assoluta vacuità che anima questi soggetti. Il vuoto dell'anima di un'esistenza senza altro desiderio che quello di soddisfare il proprio demone interno. 
Altra caratteristica che ho trovato piacevole è la scelta, fatta dall'autore, di non indugiare in immagini truculente, come pure ci si aspetterebbe da una simile lettura.  Al contrario le scene di violenza sono soltanto accennate o mostrate di sfuggita, come una porta che si apre e lascia vedere lo spicchio di una camera da letto su cui giace un corpo dalla forma incompleta o indefinibile. 
Tra le scene più forti, paradossalmente, c'è quella della violenza (anche questa, accennata e staccata pochi istanti prima della sua messa in atto) sul piccolo gatto catturato mentre sul fornello della cucina , in una pentola piena d'acqua bollente, sta cuocendo una testa umana. 
Non una lettura da signorine, comunque, ma un romanzo che mescola il piacere delle parole all'orrore di una tra le vicende più agghiaccianti della storia della criminologia.


Source: letturepericolose.blogspot.it
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