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My Friend Dahmer
Published by Abrams ComicArts
224, b&w, softcover, 6"x9"
Backderf puts together a memoir of high school in the washed out suburban seventies when he was classmates and comrades with grisly serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. My Friend Dahmer is a compelling read in the way it maps the social environment and reflects on Dahmer's self-awareness. Backderf focuses in with a too-close-for-comfort look at Dahmer's disturbed adolescence and also his humanity, and this is the most shocking and intriguing part of this book, the separation -for a minute- of the man from the monster. It doesn't attempt to tackle the truly gruesome part of Dahmer's biography, the part we all know, and so the portrait the book produces is both intimate and casual - a bit like Gus VanSant's Elephant, a character study where we are looking at some trecherous moral precipices, and trying to understand what makes someone leap from them. -EF