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Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter Paperback – August 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–When she was 17, Siana wrote a series of letters to punk rocker Ogre, the front man of the '80s band Skinny Puppy. The letters speak of depression and cutting, drug abuse and sex, music and poetry. At one concert, Ogre told her that he saved all her letters and one day would return them. True to his word, two boxes arrived at her door nine years later; inside were illustrated letters and journals filled with her most intimate thoughts and fears. Like most cutters, those who injure themselves as a physical manifestation of their inner pain, Siana felt powerless as her life spun out of control. Rereading the letters years later, she realized that expressing herself through this way had saved her life. The letters share what it's like to grow up weird and how one girl could rise above her background. Almost every page of the book is filled with heartbreaking artwork and photos, which brilliantly link the journal entries and letters together, allowing readers to get a look inside the mind of a very creative but disturbed young woman. At the end of the book is a letter from Siana's therapist and a list of resources for teenagers who may be experiencing the same problems and emotions that the author wrote about.–Erin Dennington, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Cringingly confessional...yet often uproariously funny. An overdue riposte to the bludgeoning morality of the fabricated Go Ask Alice." -- LA Weekly, June 3, 2005

"Dark, funny and touching... --

"Dark, funny and touching..." --

"Emotionally transcendent and eerily personal…riveting…a razor-sharp vignette from one woman’s emotional history." -- LA Alternative Press

"Jolene Siana is to be lauded for many things; number one is for rendering Go Ask Alice completely useless." -- Hardcore Ink

"Pure, lucid and engaging..." -- Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Process; First Edition edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976082217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976082217
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Arvin Clay on July 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
There were no white knights talking backwards, but there was some amazing heart felt writing in the letters that Jolene Siana wrote to Nivek Ogre over a 3 year period.

Having these letters published we see a young woman come into herself during a very awkward (and equally painful) time in her life. This was the kind of girl that everybody wished was their best friend in high school. She's sweet, has a wicked (often self-deprecating) sense of humor, but above all is so self-aware that without realizing it she saved her self from what could have been an awful fate all by writing to the lead singer of a band.

But this was not any ordinary band. Her comradery was not felt with Duran Duran, or Rick Springfield, but with the (now legendary) industrial outfit Skinny Puppy. It makes sense why she gravitated to something so dark (as many of us who found the band seemed to) during that time.

I read the book from cover to cover fascinated with this girl, wondering how things were going to turn out, how she was going to make it through what she was currently caught up in.

I am really blown away at her candidness in sharing such a difficult part of her life. I plan on buying multiple copies of this book to keep around for people. (both Skinny Puppy fans, and troubled people who need to know that things will be ok)

if it were possible to give this book more than 5 stars, I would. In the years to come I wholeheartedly believe it will be spoken of in the same sentence as Go Ask Alice. It's that compelling, and that significant of a piece of literature
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melissa A. Martin on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's not often that I find myself squirming while reading a book and it's a good thing. Then again it's not often that I encounter thoughts I have had myself so clearly expressed and put out there for others to read. Quite often people try to leave the past behind, neglecting the lessons they could have learned and shunning their younger selves as some sort of embarrassment. Rather than do that, Jolene Siana has courageously exposed that younger self in order to let others know that they are not alone, and more importantly, they can get through whatever pain they might currently be going through.

Being the same age as Siana, as well as having been part of the same sub-culture, for lack of a better word, this book was full of nostalgic moments for me. But that was the least important aspect of this work. I finished the book in a day and a half, often laughing at the humor she was able to express despite being in distress, and frequently cringing at her brutal honesty. While Skinny Puppy fans will probably be the first to find out about this book and read it, it speaks to anyone who ever thought they were alone, in pain and misunderstood or worse, ignored. It's an important work, and something that I myself wish had been around when I was in my late teens. Even now that I'm older, the story of her survival and the bravery she has demonstrated in letting others know about it is an inspiration. Someone who's depressed doesn't want to be constantly told that they should just cheer up and that things will get better. They want proof. This book is that proof.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jack Shear on August 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I can honestly say that I've never seen a book quite like this. Go Ask Ogre is comprised of letters (and a few journal entries) that a young woman named Jolene Siana wrote to Ogre, the lead singer of the industrial group Skinny Puppy. In her letters she expressed the feelings typical of anyone caught on the outside of "normal" existence: all of the pain, confusion, and depression resonates as a true experience captured on paper.

Somewhat miraculously, Ogre kept all of the letters that Jolene Siana sent him over the years and eventually returned them to her. Perhaps he has a great gift of foresight; it is obvious that writing to him was one of the only outlets for her feelings that Siana had at the time and that by giving her the chance to view it all again she had a chance at closure and emotional reconciliation. This book is a beautiful biographical artifact. Jolene Siana not only wrote to Ogre to an obsessive degree, but she lavishly illustrated the envelopes, which are presented here with personal photographs as part of the overall message.

The book is subtitled Letters from a Deathrock Cutter, and while there are mentions of "cutting", I didn't really find it to be the focus of this book. Cutting is just one of the many ways the author attempted to deal with her pain: she also turned to drugs and immersed herself in art and music to get by. If you've been an outsider I don't think you can help but recognize these patterns of behavior, even if you never had to live through them yourself.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jolene Siana, Go Ask Ogre: Letters of a Deathrock Cutter (Process, 2005)

Adam Parfrey kicks off his new imprint (cofounded with Dilettante Press head Jodi Wille), Process, with this book of, unsurprisingly given its title, letters. What probably will surprise the reader is that Siana's letters to Ogre (aka Kevin Ogilvie, lead vocalist of the now-reformed Skinny Puppy, as well as a number of other projects over the years) are not nearly as focused on the "cutting" aspect of Siana's personality as the subtitle would lead one to believe; in fact, the actual cutting itself is mentioned few enough times that you won't have to take your boots off to count. (Which is good. All those eyelets can get frustrating.)

Instead, what one gets is a uniformly depressing look at late-eighties life in the heartland. Siana rushes to add, in an afterword, that life was not always nearly as depressing as it seemed (and her relationship with her mother, especially, was not as bad as she made it sound back in the day). Keeping that in mind (not that the average reader could), this becomes a piece of anti-nostalgia; it's material that colors the view in the opposite way at the same time the events are occurring. (One wonders if any nostalgia, in fact, informs Siana's present-day commentary.)

Those of us who were around and relatively the same age at the time are likely to get a kick out of this simply because we remember all this stuff. There are some glosses-- especially of the infamous "Cincinnati incident"-- but that can be put down to the fact that participants in the events as they were occurring have a less clear view of them than people would afterwards (e.g., Brent Banbury's interview with the Kevins for Brave New Waves in 1991, where they gave the whole story).
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