Backderf, D. (2012). My friend Dahmer. NY: Abrams.
What would it be like to go to school with and be acquaintances with a serial killer? In this graphic novel we get a glimpse of Jeffrey Dahmer through the eyes of Derf, one of his friends and classmates before he became infamous by committing those awful crimes. Derf paints Dahmer as an eccentric and tormented adolescent who was greatly affected by teasing at school and his parent’s terrible divorce. Derf illustrates his life alongside Dahmer’s and concludes that Dahmer could have and should have been stopped if adults had just stopped and paid attention to the signs of Dahmer’s tendency toward killing. Derf’s graphic novel is hauntingly original and really stays with the reader. His drawings are unique and his portrayal of this odd and eccentric individual are very fascinating. I not only enjoyed the graphic novel format, but I also learned a lot from the notes at the end of the story that explained Derf’s illustrations in further detail and described where he got his information from. I know students will find this story fascinating and will want to do even more research on their own to find out more about Jeffrey Dahmer. I would recommend this graphic novel to 9th graders and up.