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Review of A Father's Story

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the parent of a serial killer?

In his memoir ?A Father?s Story,? Lionel Dahmer, father of American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, tries to answer that question. The book was published in 1994 by William Morrow and Company .

In July 1991, Lionel Dahmer was informed by the Milwaukee Police Department that they were investigating a homicide involving his son Jeffrey. Dahmer initially thought Jeffrey was a murder victim, not a murderer. He learned the grisly details of his son?s crimes during the trial which he was found to be legally sane and sentenced to life imprisonment in February 1992 .

?A Father?s Story? runs chronologically from Jeffrey?s birth until his arrest and imprisonment. Dahmer tries to figure out what made his son commit murder, practice necrophilia and cannibalism. He scrutinizes every possible contributing factor to his son?s psychosis starting with himself. Dahmer judges himself a poor father because he was emotionally distant towards his son. While reflecting, he ?speculates that his own youthful shyness, fascination with bombs and fears of abandonment added up to a monstrous genetic inheritance?

Lionel Dahmer takes upon himself much of the guilt for his son?s acts by considering a genetic predisposition to murder he may have passed on to his son; various acts of his own moral blindness that may have contributed to his son?s deprived emotional being; and things he did and didn?t do when certain symptoms appeared that might have alerted him to Jeffrey?s lust for sexual atrocity

In ?A Father?s Story,? the reader is witness to the incremental unraveling of a parent?s image of their child, and the ?thousand different reactions? that follow. In his attempt to understand the nature of his son?s psychosis, Lionel Dahmer methodically scrutinizes every possible contributing factor to his son?s madness .

This book is a heartfelt effort at self-analysis and self-revelation by a bewildered father forced to accept that his son is a mass murderer: Where did I go wrong? It is clear, modest, intelligent?and extremely disturbing

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