A Father's Story

Lionel Dahmer, Author
Lionel Dahmer, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (255p) ISBN 978-0-688-12156-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-72503-8
Hardcover - 270 pages - 978-0-7515-1310-3
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If readers are expecting sensational revelations from this earnest memoir by the father of mass-murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, they will be disappointed. We are instead given a glimpse into the macabre life of one of the most demented killers in the nation's history, a man who kept a full human skeleton in his closet. Jeffrey was born in Milwaukee in 1960 after his mother had endured a very difficult pregnancy (after giving birth to another son, she would spend time in a mental institution). Jeffrey seemed like any other child; it was only as he grew older that he began to withdraw. His father sees many similarities between himself and his son: both are emotionally distant, fear abandonment, like to control people and feel inadequate. The author, a chemist, writes that he was so involved with his work that he never noticed that Jeffrey, even in high school, was an alcoholic. Dahmer goes on to recite his son's litany of failure: dropping out of college after only one semester; being kicked out of the army for his alcoholism; his interest in devil worship and seances. The strongest statement in the book is Dahmer's denial of an allegation made by a former male lover of Jeffrey's that he sexually abused his son as a teenager. A book for criminologists, psychiatrists and the ghoulish. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Feb.)
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