(by Aleah Sato)
Christine Hamm's Transparent Dinner illustrates the psychological breaking down of the American daughter. Beginning at the dinner table, this daughter intuitively knows her fate, and is forced to come face-to-face with her incompetent (at best) and malevolent (at worst) mother. You feel the daughter's frustration, especially in My Mother's Basement and Door where the girl attempts to force her mother to acknowledge/protect/respond.
The title is aptly named - the "dinner" becomes a physical reaction in the reader: a visceral queasiness with a world that is not safe or certain. The reader becomes an active participant in this "growing up," witnessing a wide variety of Selves eating Selves, where people are represented in a very organic way. Several of the poems beautifully reflect the animal side of the human animal.
The Transparent Dinner is a complicated deconstruction and rebuilding of the feminine spirit. This book is powerful, perverse, and highly recommended.