A Father's Story
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I could see only those aspects of his character that he chose to show, which resembled some of my own characteristics—the shyness, the general tone of acceptance, the tendency to withdraw from conflict. A Father's Story is a memoir written by Lionel Dahmer, father of American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Each time I thought of the older Jeff, I pushed him aside, shut him up in a closet, smothered him in the darkness, where he sat, alone, with whatever it was he had done. Lionel Dahmer graduated from University of Wisconsin in 1959, in 1962 he finished Marquette University, receiving Master of Science. However, the book is also a brave attempt to seek answers and bring about understanding of what can lead a person to commit appalling acts.
REVIEW IS LONG AND INTENDED ONLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE DEEPLY INTERESTED IN READING THE BOOK, NOT FOR CASUALTIES. 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).But as we both separately realized, even this light, generally relaxing activity, so common among ordinary people at the end of the working day, was now filled with extreme and unavoidable tension for us. Lionel whether intentionally or not draws a line from his fucked up family to your fucked up family. Rather than having developed a natural fatherhood, I had learned, as if by rote, what a father should do.
Joyce had a whole catalogue of emotional and physical problems, which were incessant for years, and Lionel frankly states that he stayed away from her as much as possible, and buried himself in his untroubling laboratory. So… maybe if the theory of evolution had not poisoned Jeff’s mind to the extent where he thought human life was cheap and worthless, he wouldn’t have killed all those men. Jeff had hit bottom as a son, absolute bottom, and I could feel that he was taking me down with him, dragging me into the utter chaos that he had made of his life, and doing it publicly.In these cases the victims’ families wait breathlessly for the verdict – they know the guy will be locked up for life, but they need this one last thing, they need for the murderer to be sane. Alongside 'My Friend Dahmer', this is the best book I have read about him in terms of trying to understand what drove him to do what he did.
While reflecting, he "speculates that his own youthful shyness, fascination with bombs and fears of abandonment added up to a monstrous genetic inheritance. While Lionel seemed slightly untrustworthy or hypocritical at times, he provided a perspective on Jeffrey that I had never really heard before. At times I would try to calm her, making the typical suggestions of an analytic mind, recommending that she walk around a bit, or drink a glass of warm milk, but never moving to engage the actual dream, or the roots from which it sprang. He provides a unique perspective on the events that unfolded and offers a heartfelt exploration of the complexities of family, mental illness, and the devastating impact of Jeffrey's actions. In this deeply personal account, Lionel reflects on his son's troubled childhood and the shocking crimes he committed.All through the book, Dahmer juggles his paternal love for Jeffrey with the acceptance that his son committed unspeakable acts. That saying I do not condone ANYTHING he did, but as humans we do have a a little bit of a sick undercurrent, slowing down at accident scenes, a interest in our own demise! Lionel Dahmer's memoir about fatherhood and Jeffrey's childhood has helped me a lot to understand myself, my childhood, and my personality better once again. The fact that seemed hardest to understand was that we, ourselves, had done nothing to deserve such unwanted attention.
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. Publishers Weekly reviewed that A Father's Story is "a book for criminologists, psychiatrists and the ghoulish. In his book, "A Father's Story," Lionel Dahmer shares his personal journey and struggles in coming to terms with his son's heinous crimes.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.