Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews 2: My Friend Dahmer, Relish, and This One Summer


Recently, I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone of fluffy contemporary books in order to discover new favorites. One area of books that I’ve decided to branch out into is graphic novels. I love graphic novels because they’ve really pushed me to read subjects that I normally wouldn’t read because they are in a more accessible format. Here are my thoughts on three graphic novels on a few recent reads:

  • My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer by Derk Backderf follows the high school years of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer before he commits his first murder. From police reports, interviews, and accounts from the people who knew Jeffrey Dahmer (like the author himself), this book details the origins of Jeffrey’s strange behavior.

One reason that I really love graphic novels is that they can take a subject that I don’t usually pick-up, in this case non-fiction, and make it more accessible to read. Especially with My Friend Dahmer, I appreciated the author had first hand knowledge of Jeffrey Dahmer’s high school years because he associated with him in high school. While it was interesting to learn more about the origins of Jeffrey Dahmer’s behavior, this book was only okay to me. Before reading this book, I had already seen the trailer for the movie based on this book. Since the trailer and the book are so similar, it felt like I was reading information that I already knew which made the book less shocking and interesting. I give My Friend Dahmer three out of five stars.

  • Relish by Lucy Kinsey

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish by Lucy Kinsey is a food-theme memoir that follows the author’s experience with food from her childhood until now. In addition to anecdotes in the states and abroad, the book also features some of the author’s favorite recipes that you can make yourself!

On Youtube, I saw one of my favorite Youtubers (Heather from Bookables) rave about this graphic novel. As a result, I picked this book up when I saw it in my local library. While I did enjoy this book and reading about the author’s experiences, there was just something missing for me. There were a lot of emotional moments in the author’s life that were a little glossed over for me. I understand the focus of this book was geared toward food, but I felt like I needed something more to connect with the author. However, I did enjoy the recipes in this book. If I didn’t read this book so close to the due date, I probably would have tried some myself! I give this book three out of four stars.

  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

This One Summer

In This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, a young girl returns with her family to Awago Beach which they do every summer. However, this summer is different because her parents keep fighting and her mom is acting drastically different. Additionally, the main character develops a crush on an older boy at the movie store dealing with his own issues.

I’ve seen this graphic novel in a lot of graphic novel recommendations, so I decided to pick it up. Like with the first two books I reviewed, this book was okay but I needed something a little more to make it a better read for me. One aspect of this book that I really appreciated is that it portrays life very realistically. Although this book is pretty dark, it does portray a lot of real events that would make the girl in this book grow up. At the same time, this book basically just chronicles the main character’s summer. The main character really doesn’t do anything in this book, readers just see her reactions to other people and events in the novel. As a result, the other character’s stories were a lot more interesting than the one readers actually get to see. I give This One Summer three out of five stars.


What graphic novels do you recommend?


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