Summary: This graphic novel by Derf Backderf tells us the story of none other than notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. But it comes in a unique twist. This story is not only in the form of a graphic novel, but it is through the point of view of an actual childhood friend of Dahmer. Through his point of view, we see Dahmer as a very young man. A student who doesn’t seem to fit in with his peers. But author Derf Backderf was friends with him, and he tells us the story of a young Jeffrey Dahmer as he becomes the famed serial killer he is today.
Strengths: According to our textbook, style plays a huge role in the making of a good graphic novel. It is given a more realistic approach with its realistic drawings to create a more realistic tone, much author Derf Backderf does in his other graphic novels, like Trashed. The whole story is in black and white, which I believe makes sense given the subject at hand. This story was never meant to be full of vibrant colors. The same thing could be said about the text. The speech and thought bubbles are all in black and white to reflect the tone, and the font is a more serious font, not something off the wall like Comic Sans.
Connections to Text: This story focuses on a student that would later become one of the worlds most notorious serial killers. So there are some huge connections to the development of adolescents. According to the developmental stages of Havighurst, Dahmer is right in the middle of these stages. He is supposed to be “learning to get along with peers,” but is of course having difficulty with this. Another one that he is going through is “developing morals and values.” All throughout the book, Dahmer becomes more and more isolated and is not learning the correct morals and values that a person his age must be learning.
Backderf, D. (2012). My friend Dahmer: A graphic novel. New York: Abrams