Go Ask Ogre
by Jolene Siana
Go Ask Ogre collects the letters, journal entries, and artwork created by Jolene Siana from 1987 to 2003. Siana spent much of her late teens in Toledo reacting to a dysfunctional family atmosphere by nurturing self-destructive habits and sending an avalanche of mail to Skinny Puppy vocalist Nivek Ogre. Certainly Ogre received much unsolicited correspondence, but he did nothing to squelch this largely one-sided conversation. Indeed, he fostered a friendship with Siana and they met on multiple occasions.
While Ogre obviously recognized something special about Siana’s missives, much of her written material is forgettable. The most engaging parts of Go Ask Ogre consist of her journal entries about their personal interaction (including helping bail Ogre out of jail) and her compelling gothic artwork. As a matter of fact, her book would have benefited from fewer words and more of her art.
I lived in the Detroit area at the time covered by Siana, attended some of the same shows, and even shared a few of her acquaintances. For scenesters from northern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, as well as hardcore Skinny Puppy fans, Go Ask Ogre will be sure to hold some interest. Also, the resources listed at the end suggest Siana’s tale is partly meant as a moral lesson on some of the extreme pitfalls of adolescence, particularly stress-motivated self-mutilation. If black candles, goth music, and razor blades are your only way of finding balance, I suggest you hear Siana out.