A Father’s Story by Lionel Dahmer

A Father's Story

A Father's Story


ISBN: 9780688121563


I read this book in a few hours. If you have ANY interest at all in serial killers or Jeffrey Dahmer, you will love this freaking book. Lionel Dahmer doesn't give you excuses or sob stories. It's a father expressing his sorrow for the son that he lost (or, frankly, maybe never had) and regret about all of the harm that Jeffrey caused to the 17 men and their families.


It's beautifully written. Truly. The stories he told are full of all of the things a dad hopes for his son. Lionel tries to find any meaning in the things that Jeffrey did as a baby, toddler or a teenager that might have forewarned Lionel about what was coming.

Can a person really predict that their son is going to be a cannibal, though? (Right now I'm predicting that my kid will NOT be a cannibal. Fingers crossed!)

There is a lot of hope that ultimately turns to pain, but it was gripping and heartbreaking.


Good luck finding this book. For real. I'm not joking.

I think my local Half Price Books made a mistake when the tagged it for $8.99 because it goes for anywhere between $53 and $163 on Amazon.

So, if you find one, BUY IT.



Quotes from A Father's Story:

"I often think of him in that initial innocence. I imagine the shapes he must have seen, the blur of moving colors, and as I recall him in his infancy, I feel overwhelmed by a sense of helpless dread. I consider his eyes, blinking softly, and then I remember all of the horrors they will later see. I dwell on the small, pink hands, and in my mind I watch them grow larger and darker as I think about all that they will later do, of how stained they will become with the blood of others. It is impossible to reconcile these visions, or to escape their sadness. They are like scenes from separate worlds, pages from different books, so that it is impossible to imagine how the end of my son's life could have sprung from the beginning."

"For him, a sudden, uncontrollable act of violence and sexual mutilation had thrust any hope for an ordinary life into a work that was utterly beyond his grasp. How odd and unrealizable all my talk of college and careers must have struck him after that. My ambitions for him, the little strategies I suggested for getting his life on track, must have seemed like constructs from another planet; my system of values, built as it was on notions of work and family, like quaint, but incomprehensible artifacts from a vanished civilization."


Jeffrey Dahmer is, hands down, my favorite serial killer (that's not weird, right?). What books about serial killers are your faves?


Book description provided by Goodreads. If you purchase from my Amazon link, I receive a few coins, but you won't be charged anything.

2 thoughts on “A Father’s Story by Lionel Dahmer”

      I loved “My Friend Dahmer”—waaay better than the movie version. And after putting it off for so long, I finally checked “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” out of the library today. Everyone says it’s fantastic.

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