My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer

By Derf Backderf

  • Release Date: 2012-03-05
  • Genre: Graphic Novels
Score: 4.5
From 244 Ratings


The bone-chilling graphic novel that inspired the major motion picture starring Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer.
2013 ALA/YALSA Alex Award
2014 Revelation Award at Angoulême
2015 ALA/YALSA Alex Award (Excellence in Narrative Nonfiction)
Named a BEST OF 2012 by Time, The Village Voice, A.V. Club, comiXology, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, MTV Geek, and more!
You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer—the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper—seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, "Jeff" was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.
Also available by Derf Backderf, Trashed.

Find teaching guides for My Friend Dahmer and other titles at


  • Couldn’t put it down

    By therockinmegster
    Such an interesting perspective! I loved it.
  • awesome

    By Apexasassin94
    amazing read
  • Understanding Serial Killers

    By Tori Blake
    I've always been fascinated by serial killers for some odd reason, I can't explain why other than it's just generally fascinating what makes them people tick. My Spring Term of 2017 in College I took Psychology, and we did projects on mental disorders. One of the groups in my class had a mental disorder most serial killers have. By the end of all the groups presenting, my teacher explained to us that while people are not justified in their doings, we need to understand that they were people before their awful acts took place and something along the way made them snap or come undone, whether it is genetic or develops over time. We were told to understand before making hasty judgements. While we don't have to or should feel the need to sympathize- we have to understand we are all human beings and we all have a breaking point. While what Dahmer did after you graduated is awful, you in some form have humanized him for the public and helped others understand that serial killers like Jeff are developed over time. I'm curious as to what would have happened, had someone reached out to him at any point in those years? (Maybe not you, but someone who would have tried to sympathize with him being gay and attempting to understand him before he committed his first murder.) The world may never know. Either way, this book is appreciated on so many levels, and I enjoyed the artwork.
  • Decent

    By @fancifulendeavor
    Pretty great. Left me hanging, though. Pity
  • Eh misleading

    By swankyrue
    Here's my issue with this book. They aren't friends; mostly associates and only for a short time. A lot of the book is conjecture and I can't say it truly gives me insight. I could read court transcripts, psych evaluations or any other first had sources and would really get a better understanding. This guy is on the outside looking in. So when he says my friend that's just untrue. It's frustrating just like on the news it's always some distant relative, someone who knew the person in passing that is the first to speak. I just think this book offers little in the way of understanding Dahmer as a youth which is unfortunate.
  • Great Book!

    By Scott Clapp
    This book was actually pretty good. I was born after Jeffery Dahmer was arrested for his crimes so I didn't really know to much about him until I had to read this book for a college class but this book gives such a great perspective on Jeffery Dahmer. Loved this book and would highly recommend it!!
  • An amazing graphic achievement

    By npendleton
    Derf's style is unmistakable and always engaging, and as memoir it's riveting. A true five star graphic novel.
  • Love It!

    By Bugtussell
    Half way through this book and I'm hooked. This is awesome. Can't wait to read more of Derfs work. Great job!
  • Great Comic!!!!!!

    By Jbounds6
    This a great, creepy, thoroughly referenced, and unbelievable but true comic.
  • Excellent

    By NewYork678
    When I downloaded this I did not expect what I got - I thought "graphic novel" meant written graphically. (Don't laugh!) But what an amazing surprise! Loved reading this but the "graphic" visuals were compelling - I didn't have to visualize in my head- it was all there. I just wish it could have lasted longer. Thank you for sharing your experience - I could totally relate having also been in high school in the late seventies. I highly recommend!