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A Father's Story  By  cover art

A Father's Story

By: Lionel Dahmer
Narrated by: Scott R. Pollak
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Publisher's Summary

Raising a serial killer

Father's search for answers

In July of 1991, the country was shocked by the unfathomable crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. But no one was more shocked than his parents. In A Father's Story, the listener becomes 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. His desperation is palpable as he searches for clues in the emotional, psychological, and genetic landscape of his son's life.

Riveting and soul-wrenching, this unprecedented memoir is the confession of a father who must "confront the saddest truth a human can know—that his child has somehow crossed the line that separates the human from the monstrous".

©1991 Lionel Dahmer (P)2022 Licensing Management, Inc.

What listeners say about A Father's Story

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A gut wrenching, written internal dialogue

As a parent, it’s easy to sympathize with Lionel’s thoughts. Most of us, despite our children’s shortcomings wouldn’t be any different. Having said that, I feel no sympathy for Jeff. We’ll never know what made him who he was, all we know for sure is the pain he has caused so many others. The Dahmers were victims as well in their own right. He wasn’t raised this way he was born this way, and sadly I don’t believe Jeff ever had a chance. But like most Dietes, most parents offer a grace to their children they may not deserve out of love. My prayers go out to the Dahmers for what has to be such an excruciating existence, living in the shadows of the trauma Jeff caused, and prayers especially to his victims and their families living in an even darker shadow of this trauma.

4 people found this helpful

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Reflection

This book definitely hits home and make you reflect as a father.
Well rounded story, definitely recommend.

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Father is a wonderful writer!

I listen to many books yet this book was written above & beyond the average book. I may not always agree with some of the things that he believes or states BUT he writes with eloquence & openness. Enjoyed the narrators voice also very much!

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Well done

What touched me about Lionel Dahmer was the love he had for his son through out J.D.'s troubled life. How many people don't know the love of family, of a parent. How many people are judged by those closest to them. People who have done nothing like J.D. Yet, even after the horrific crimes/acts Jeff Dahmer committed, his father Still LOVED him. That really spoke to me.

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Found the father’s marriage unlistenable

The relationship dynamic is hard to listen to. He also reminds me of mr. White from breaking bad.

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Surprisingly good book

Lionel Dahmer is a surprisingly good writer and he did a good job telling Jeff’s story.

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Very well written

I wanted to read this book after watching the Netflix Jeff Dahmer story. It was very insightful. I do feel for Jeff’s family and Jeff himself. He clearly was battling some demons that most can’t comprehend.

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was okay

it was okay. I feel like a lot of blame is put on Dahmer's Mom.

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Sad, heartbreaking for all involved in Jeff’s life.

I feel Jeff’s Dad did his best to be introspective and honest about the role he may have played in his sons demented life. He seems to be as baffled as the rest but is willing to explore where he figures into this somewhat. I finished the book wanting to be more watchful of my own children and fully engaged. He was loyal to his son. Great book and wonderfully narrated.

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Heartbreaking insights into the Dahmer family

Lionel Dahmer delves into details about his life raising Jeff Dahmer and if he could have noticed signs of Jeff’s descent. He clearly blames himself for what his son did. His heartbreak for the families grief and pain is genuine.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Graeme Edwards
  • 10-19-22

A very sad read, well written

After watching the Netflix series I downloaded this, and “enjoyed” (not the appropriate word really) listening to this. It is well written and clearly cathartic for Lionel. Highly recommended.

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  • marie
  • 11-11-22

Very good insight

I really feel for his dad as he really tried
unfortunately Jeffrey was already damaged by his mother in my own opinion
couldn't stop listening, a great narrative from start to finish
10 /10 from me

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  • Miss S J Manning
  • 11-02-22

Lionel Dahmer a very courageous man

I remember very well the first time I heard about the atrocious crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer , I was 21. Ironically at that time I’d just seen Silence of the Lambs about a month or so before the Dahmer story broke . The film affected me & so did the sinister details of Jeffrey Dahmers real life crimes . I can’t even imagine how Lionel Dahmer & his family felt , but this book goes someway to answer that.
So when the Netflix series was launched it triggered that same chilling feeling that had laid dormant in me since 1991.
However older & wiser & now a parent myself I felt I wanted to understand a bit more about the case . This is when I discovered Lionel Dahmers book .
It tells a very authentic account of how by proxy the Dahmer family have had to endure the aftermath of their sons heinous activities .
I had read some negative opinions of how Lionel Dahmers book was cashing in on his sons infamous crimes . I totally disagree that financial reward was Lionel’s motivation . So it was good to find out from the books introduction that a certain amount of the book sales would benefit the families of the victims .
I felt that this may have been a way for Lionel to make sense of the madness that was thrust apon him . To delve so deeply & discuss so openly his own experiences of adolescent fantasies & compulsions was very brave in my opinion .
This could easily open up avenues for blame to be apportioned & maybe Lionel wrestled with that notion in someway whilst going through this catharsis .
Whatever the truth is, I found the book interesting to listen to & informative in understanding more about the possible reasons for Jeffrey Dahmers actions . For me personally the thing I take away from this is Lionel’s courage to even sit and write this in the first place . I wish him & his family peace & hope that the new Netflix series hasn’t caused him any further anguish than he has already been through . Thank you for making this book available on Audible .

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  • Lee
  • 10-28-22

Told from the heart.

Lionel loved his son that is very clear but in trying to find an answer for the way his son Jeff turned out he blames himself totally. What a burden to have on one’s shoulders.

JD was an absolute nut who was smart enough to cover his tracks long enough to kill as many men as he did. In one instance the behaviour of the police department was appalling and this cause the death of a young man and yet nothing was done…

Anyway the book was well written and well read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-26-22

Excellent listen

This captivated me for several days, worth the time spending listening to Lionel’s true accounts

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  • Kay Furrie
  • 10-20-22

Nice to hear this story from dad's POV

Lionel, tells this heartbreaking story from a fathers POV and what side do you choose, your son who's killed many men or the families these men where taken from. Definitely worth a listen too. 5/5

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  • Francis Thorrington
  • 10-15-22

An Honest Account

Lionel does not defend his son's actions.
He gives no excuses for what happened and is in agreement with the victims families in that his son committed the most disgusting crimes.
This is a book about what he saw from Jeff's childhood upto his death. There is alot of self hate and beating himself up which is understandable but also heartbreaking. Like the victims families Lionel too has had no peace in his thoughts since everything came out. He is honest and insightful. Listen to this to hear what the media didn't want you to hear.

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  • GIE
  • 10-15-22

Provides no further understanding than I had

Lionel is clearly wracked with guilt yet he doesn't tell us much of what he feels HE did wrong. In places the book is far more about Lionel than about Jeffrey. I get that he's trying to produce an understanding of him and therefore Jeffrey but I felt at times it was superfluous.

Lionel was in immense denial, way before his son committed these murders. I'm afraid for me that makes it difficult to know how much of what he writes is factual.

I cannot fathom why you'd encourage your child to have such a hobby when you yourself had suffered from horrendous urges.

I felt it must've been very damaging for any child to have parents that didn't even notice you as they were so wrapped up in their own (verbally) violent behaviours.

After finishing the book, I don't really have much more of a idea as to why Jeffrey did what he did. The book also highlights the discrepancies in the Netflix series and Lionel's account.

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  • Zak Maddison
  • 10-01-22

Dahmer

A very interesting and insightful view into the upbringing of someone who would become a serial killer.
For those who are interested in true crime, I would fully recommend.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-29-22

unbiased truth

brilliant account of a fathers love and dismay for actions of his son...he told his truth in away that wasnt asking for pity blame or lack of accountability amazing

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  • Brandyn
  • 11-27-22

Different Perspective on Dahmer

It’s a very different perspective on the Dahmer story but I believe a lot of the takes from Lionel are him just trying to cope with his son being a monster and trying to rationalise why he became the way he did but also saying “I can’t say for certain that’s why he ended up the way he did”. I also think he leaves out quite a bit from the overall story to get whatever narrative he is trying to get across to make sense.

It is interesting and the performance of the narrator is very well done but I don’t think I could recommend to anyone