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Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter Paperback – August 1, 2005
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"Dark, funny and touching... -- boingboing.net
"Dark, funny and touching..." -- boingboing.net
"Emotionally transcendent and eerily personal riveting a razor-sharp vignette from one womans 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
Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
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.
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).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i read the whole book in one day... not because it was short, but because it was fun. (This book is 5% Skinny Puppy and 95% heart/soul of a loyal and RELEVANT fan)Published 1 month ago by me
I read this book in two days. It spoke intimately to me.. I was a 'troubled teen' in the early 90's within the same subculture and also a huge Skinny Puppy fan. Read morePublished 6 months ago by eyelet
I really enjoyed this one. A great insight of a troubled teen who writes leaders to the lead singer of Skinny Puppy.Published on February 27, 2014 by melissa
I was looking forward to this book. I was part of that scene at the same time, seeing the same bands, etc, but the book just is more about the author and not really about Ogre or... Read morePublished on February 21, 2014 by Rose
this book was interesting for a while but then the "got up, had something to eat, my life sucks" formula of every single diary entry got on my nerves. Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by Chris
This book is built on an intriguing concept, but the result is disappointingly dull. Seems like if you've read one teenage girl's diary, you've read them all--this one included. Read morePublished on June 20, 2012 by K. Cole