An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:

 

Before he was one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer was just a kid growing up in Ohio. In My Friend Dahmer, Backderf frankly examines his childhood friendship with Dahmer and events that led up to Dahmer’s first murder.

 

In the text, Backderf bolds certain words throughout the book. There seems to be no logic to the words he bolds. At the beginning, this style choice is distracting, and the purpose behind the emphasis on certain words never becomes clear. The artwork in the book is highly stylized, very cartoon-y and caricature-like. In the more explicit scenes, this works in the book’s favor. The style lets Backderf illustrate some of the more gruesome aspects of the story, such as the dead animals, while keeping the images from becoming too grotesque. There is also an interesting road motif throughout the book. It seems to emphasize the point that this story is not about Dahmer’s murders, but rather the path that leads to them. It shows that he was on this path for a long time.

 

My Friend Dahmer is an interesting read. With the current interest in true crime, there is no doubt that it will be a popular choice for a while. It does not seem like an essential title for all graphic novel collections, but it is a relatively new title and time will tell if it earns a place in the canon or not.