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For Lionel Dahmer, a whole new set of worry was opened up for him in relation to his child, a son he called Jeff. Page 2: After this book was published she broke her silence. Enlarge cover. One of the things that stuck in my mind was the way he refers to his son as "Jeff". He tries out the blame shoe on everybody and everything—-media, drugs, Mom, school, genetics, and mostly himself. I never expected it to be posted.
I always believed the lie that the theory of evolution is truth, that we all came from the slime and when we died that was it. So the whole theory cheapens life. And I started reading books that show how evolution is a complete lie. View all 23 comments. Jul 20, Shaun rated it really liked it Shelves: This book presents a rare opportunity to see an evil man, whom most of us dismiss as an abomination, through the eyes of a loving parent.
It's hard enough to wrap one's head around the atrocity known as serial murder, now imagine that that the serial murderer is your son.
Except Lionel Dahmer didn't have to imagine. Instead he had to somehow unify the son he thought he knew and loved with a monster capable of unthinkable acts of violence. A Father's Story is clearly Lionel Dahmer's attempt to unde This book presents a rare opportunity to see an evil man, whom most of us dismiss as an abomination, through the eyes of a loving parent. A Father's Story is clearly Lionel Dahmer's attempt to understand his son's evolution into one of the world's most renowned serial killers with particular emphasis on his personal role.
Where did he go wrong? Did he pass on to Jeff some genetic predisposition, some biological need for absolute control? Was he too distant, too oblivious? On the other hand, was it his son's alcoholism? His wife's use of barbituates and other drugs during her pregnancy? Was it somehow related to a childhood surgery in which Jeff feared his penis had been cut off? The answers to these questions are interesting, but not as interesting as the process.
In that sense, I'm not sure Lionel's insights into Jeff are particularly worthwhile in terms of what they reveal about Jeff, but they are certainly worthwhile in terms of what the reveal about him and about human nature in general. Throughout the book Lionel needs to find a narrative about his son that he can live with, one that he can accept, one that resonates.
To me, an outsider, the obvious answer to a question like Jeffrey Dahmer is that he is simply a sociopath. He lacks a conscience and the ability to empathize. He sees people, relationships, and the world in terms of their ability to meet his needs, whatever those needs might be. Not all sociopaths are killers, of course.
And just like anything, sociopathy probably exists along a spectrum. However, sometimes you have the perfect storm. What starts off as a normal curiosity about anatomy turns into an odd preoccupation with bones and entrails that is somehow eventually linked to Jeff's sexuality. He feels isolated by the violent and perverse nature of his fantasies.
He is also gay in a time when people just aren't gay. His parents are in a volatile and unhappy marriage. He turns to alcohol and becomes an alcoholic. And then fate provides him an opportunity to live out a recurring fantasy.
He comes across a shirtless hitchhiker, whom he takes home and eventually murders.
Lionel, however, isn't happy with the "perfect storm" scenario, which is admittedly vague and non-specific. After all, this is his son, his offspring, his responsibility. It was he, Lionel Dahmer, who unleashed Jeffrey on this world. He needs answers. Real answers. Ultimately, he feels guilty and he needs to know if he is somehow to blame. Bottom line: That said, I think we learn more about Lionel in these pages than we do about Jeffrey. I recently watched the famous Stone Phillips interview with Jeffrey, his father, and his mother.
For the most part, Jeff was a fairly average kid, who grew into a awkward teen whose alcoholism went unnoticed by his parents who were distracted by their own problems. He had odd fantasies about laying down with unconscious men.
Fantasies he couldn't share with anyone. Eventually, he crosses a line that once crossed propels him further into his perversions. Throughout the interview, what struck me about Jeff was his repeated assertions that everything he did, he did because he wanted to. I was attracted to these men. I wanted to have sex with them without having to deal with their sexual desires.
I didn't really want to kill them. It was a means to an end. A selfish end. At one point he discusses his conversion to creationism. He reveals he was once an atheist and seems to suggest that had he believed in God, he would not have done what he did.
He actually suggests and seems to believe in that moment that without a belief in God there is nothing to deter someone from hurting others. I would argue a conscience and empathy keep atheists like me from hurting people to get what we want.
I would further argue that most of us are born with some innate sense of "right" vs. Religion may certainly play a role. But clearly a lack of a Savior or Creator was not Dahmer's problem. His lack of conscience, his lack of empathy, his inability to consider the cost of fulfilling his own perverted fantasies genetic, learned, or some combination thereof , these were Dahmer's problem. One final afterthought.
There were signs. It seems there are always signs. Jeff was withdrawn at home. Jeff was an alcoholic. As a teen, Jeff never dates or talks about girls. Jeff drops out of college and is repeatedly drunk. He certainly isn't the first young man who just can't get his act together. Jeff stole a male manikin from a store, which his grandmother finds in his closet.
Jeff is convicted of molesting a 13 year old boy. Jeffrey seems obsessed with pornography. Jeff performs weird experiments on dead animals His grandmother, whom he lives with, reports strange odors coming from her basement. I don't know Jeff installs a state of the art security system in his small rundown apartment. He puts a lock on his bedroom door. He buys a large freezer so he can buy meat on sale?
I know, I know. But there were serious signs, particularly the molestation. How does a man who drugs and molests a 13 year old boy fall through the cracks? That's a question worth asking ourselves. Forget why Jeff did what he did. I'm not sure we society could have stopped the anomaly that was Jeff Why then did we just let him go?
View all 19 comments. Jun 12, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is one of those books that I find very difficult to suspend bias over, as I imagine many other readers would, too. Here we have the story of a man who raised one of the most infamous serial killers in America, a man so heinous that his crimes continue to perpetuate our culture to this day, what with films like 's My Friend Dahmer and constant warnings about going to strangers' houses alone.
That said, at the same time it's also impossible not to have some sympathy for Dahmer Sr.
With a mother who left the family for career pursuits and Dahmer moving in with a grandmother as a young adult, his father was separated from Jeffery's life for much of the time that the murders were taking place. Still, with a pang of guilt this story reflects in hindsight about how there was always something a little shifty about Jeffery, and it's a warning bell to all to keep an eye on things that just don't seem right, even if it might be nothing. It's undoubtedly disturbing and not for every audience, but it's still destined to be a welcome addition to any true crime fan's collection.
May 04, Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it really liked it Recommends it for: People That Feel Too Happy. The most interesting and emotionally challenging book I read during my bygone period of fascination with the sorts of issues that delve into the supremely dark sewers of human nature -- and serial killers certainly fit and greatly define the bill. It's heartbreaking and of course covers all the obvious and familiar terrain of how gut-wrenchingly awful Dahmer's crimes were, but with an added twist i.
T The most interesting and emotionally challenging book I read during my bygone period of fascination with the sorts of issues that delve into the supremely dark sewers of human nature -- and serial killers certainly fit and greatly define the bill.
This is the kind of twist which really gets ones moral examination gears spinning, and indeed spinning futilely in circles quite often. Something that really challenges the extents and limitations of empathy, sympathy, pity, and so on. View all 11 comments.
Apr 18, Hannah rated it really liked it Shelves: Every parent knows this one unavoidable truth: We worry when they are little; Is that cough the flu? Is that rash chicken pox, or something worse? When they go to school, we worry how they will act in the broader world opening up to them; Are they ready and eager to learn? Will they be kind and respectful of others? As they mature different worries appear to replace the old ones; Will someone break their heart?
Will they do something stupid and Every parent knows this one unavoidable truth: Will they do something stupid and dangerous just like I did , but not make it out alive to grow old and live to tell the tale?
This parental worry will continue, to varying degrees, for all parents, forever. But for most parents the world over, these and similar worries are the only ones they will have to face. For Lionel Dahmer, a whole new set of worry was opened up for him in relation to his child, a son he called Jeff.
Did my boy commit these horrific murders? Why didn't I see the signs? How did my own boy spiral down to a place I couldn't reach, and couldn't fix? Reading this book, I couldn't fathom what ring of hell Lionel Dahmer existed in and probably still exists as he grappled with the reality of his son, and the dark choices that son made. Dahmer recaps his life as father to Jeffrey, and struggles to find answers to what happened. Some of his theories are like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Other theories have weight, but there is no way to measure their validity. The sadness and the inescapable reality of a book like this is that Dahmer, like the rest of us, will never really know what made his son do what he did.
He can speculate; he can point a finger at this situation or that situation; he can look inward and berate himself for all his failings as a parent. But sadly, there isn't an answer. As a reader, I came away with an enormous amount of sympathy for Lionel, his x-wife, their family, the victims and their families, and all the potential of those victims torn away by Jeffrey Dahmer's heinous acts.
Looking at all the baby and boyhood photos of Jeffrey, it wasn't hard to sympathize for the potential that was lost in Jeffrey himself.
But no answers. Lionel Dahmer writes what I felt was a candid, honest struggle to come to terms with his son and his actions. It's one of those books you read and are honestly glad you don't have to ask the kind of questions he was forced to ask himself as a parent. There but for the Grace of God View all 7 comments. Jul 12, Andrew Bourne added it Recommended to Andrew by: Vincent Zompa. Under what criteria can this book be judged? Is there a comparative piece of writing? Perhaps the only thing more idiosyncratic than the crimes Jeffrey Dahmer committed is this curious analysis by his father, which is more autobiography than criminology or portraiture.
If it is sensationalism like so many other books about serial murder , then he certainly has a bizarre method for doing so; if it Under what criteria can this book be judged? If it is sensationalism like so many other books about serial murder , then he certainly has a bizarre method for doing so; if it is a clarification of facts, then it is incomplete and meandering; if it is an apology, it is sincere but just totally weary from years of apology. It is what it is. Lionel is befuddled and so am I.
This book only provides occasional and cursory gruesome details, and understandably so. I looked elsewhere and found calculated necrophilia, human taxidermy, trepanation, and cannibalism—-all ultimately at the rate of one murder per week.
Lionel splashes around in his personal failure as a husband, a father, a citizen, whatever. But none of it is worse than my own family. He tries out the blame shoe on everybody and everything—-media, drugs, Mom, school, genetics, and mostly himself.
Is he lying about anything? To say that this book humanizes Jeffrey Dahmer is incorrect, it does have the effect, and horribly so, of making me, and I might assume almost any reader, consider that as aberrant as this situation is, it is shared culturally in America today, and even personally. Lionel whether intentionally or not draws a line from his fucked up family to your fucked up family. Jeffrey Dahmer will long be remembered as one of the most gruesome and appalling serial killers of all time.
But if there was any hope that the reader might gain any insight into his mental makeup by reading this memoir, by the man who should have known him better than any other, it is quickly dashed.
Lionel Dahmer reveals himself as a cold, emotionally distant father and husband who's greatest influence upon his oldest son seems to have been to create an atmosphere of such utter disregard and di Jeffrey Dahmer will long be remembered as one of the most gruesome and appalling serial killers of all time.
Lionel Dahmer reveals himself as a cold, emotionally distant father and husband who's greatest influence upon his oldest son seems to have been to create an atmosphere of such utter disregard and disinterest that Jeffrey's withdrawal into an interior landscape of cruel and twisted emotional violence is not only hastened, it is almost ensured.
Between long, rambling barely-coherent attempts to place his son's crimes into the context of his own failings as a person Not a revelation goes by without an accompanying "Perhaps I had been naive A final chapter, added after Jeffrey's death in prison, simply adds a film of utter loathing to the reading experience, as father somehow contrives to tie in a possible redemption for his son with an incoherent, self-serving diatribe about the righteousness of intelligent design.
This could have been a searing odyssey of truthfulness and revelation, giving the reader real insight into a father's relationship with one of the most notorious monsters of our time.
Instead, it is a worthless smattering of excuses, self-justifications, and oily smarminess. It is an utter disgrace. View all 3 comments. Jan 16, Doris Jean rated it did not like it Recommends it for: I did not like the book because I did not like Lionel. Share from page: Page 2: Having said that, Lionel was also a.
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Dahmer, Lionel. Physical Description p. Published New York: Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 1 of 2. Author Dahmer, Lionel. Edition 1st ed. Subjects Dahmer, Jeffrey L. Dahmer, Lionel -- Family. Dahmer, Jeffrey. Serial murderers -- Wisconsin -- Milwaukee -- Family relationships. Serial murders -- Wisconsin -- Milwaukee -- Case studies.
Fathers -- United States -- Biography. Serial murders -- United States -- Biography. Serial murderers. Murderers -- United States -- Biography.
Summary On July 23, , Milwaukee chemist Lionel Dahmer discovered - along with the rest of the world - that his son Jeffrey was a murderer who, over a period of many years, had carried out some of the most ghastly crimes ever committed in the United States.
These crimes were so grisly that for a time Dahmer entered a world of complete denial - first convinced that Jeff was innocent, then later that he had been no more than the tool of some other, far more evil human being.